Man arrested for attempted internal heroin importation through Avalon Airport

A 38-year-old Malaysian national has been charged with drug importation offences after allegedly attempting to internally import approximately 700 grams of a substance containing heroin through Avalon Airport.

On Tuesday 25 June Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at Avalon Airport targeted the male passenger for a baggage examination after he arrived on a flight from Kuala Lumpur.

During the bag-search, officers identified two black wrapped pellets which returned a presumptive positive result for heroin. ABF officers then became concerned the man may be concealing further drugs internally and notified the Victorian Ambulance Service and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Further examination of the man revealed three additional black wrapped pellets which also tested positive for heroin.

The man was taken into custody by AFP officers and transported to hospital for further medical treatment. While in hospital, a further 13 pellets were located, also containing heroin. Further testing is being conducted to determine the exact weight of the drugs.

The man was charged with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely heroin, contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment.

ABF Vic/Tas Regional Commander Craig Palmer said the detection showed the vigilance of ABF officers at Australia’s borders.

“This is another example of the intuition and skills of our officers stopping illicit substances from reaching Australian communities and causing harm,” Commander Palmer said.

“This detection also demonstrates the ABF has a strong presence at all of Australia’s international ports regardless of their size. No matter which entry point criminals try and exploit, none of them are a soft target.

“My message is clear – whatever illicit substance you try to bring in, we will find it. It is not worth the risk to your safety and the significant penalties that apply.”

AFP Acting Commander Peter Bodel, Manager Organised Crime, said the AFP remains vigilant about combating all facets of the drug trade.

“Those that seek to import drugs, be it via an internal courier or any other method, remain firmly in our sights.

“The AFP and the ABF, along with our other law enforcement partners, will continue to use every network, every relationship and every partnership that we have to target those that seek to profit from the illicit trade in narcotics,” said a/Commander Bodel said

He appeared before court on 26 June 2019 and was remanded in custody until his next court appearance before Melbourne Magistrates Court on 17 September 2019.

For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services, call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.

Anyone with information about the importation of illicit drugs and precursors should contact BorderWatch at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia’s border. Information can be provided anonymously.

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