A 41-year-old Spanish man has been arrested and charged after approximately 4kg of cocaine was allegedly found concealed in an unaccompanied suitcase at Sydney International Airport.
On Tuesday 12 November 2018, an unaccompanied bag arrived at Sydney Airport on a flight from Chile, via New Zealand. Australian Border Force (ABF) officers inspected the bag and noted abnormalities in its weight when emptied.
A subsequent X-ray of the suitcase showed inconsistencies in its construction. Further deconstruction of the bag by ABF officers revealed a white powder, which gave a presumptive positive result for cocaine.
The estimated weight of the drug was approximately 4kg.
The matter was referred to the AFP who commenced an investigation into the whereabouts of the bag’s owner.
AFP officers located the man at his accommodation in Sydney. He was charged with importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
ABF Regional Commander NSW, Danielle Yannopoulos, said working collaboratively, the ABF and the AFP had kept these drugs off the streets.
“ABF officers at Sydney Airport work tirelessly each day to protect the community, and this is another example of their skills, intuition and diligence stopping illicit substances from reaching Australian families and causing harm,” Commander Yannopoulos said.
“This should serve as a warning to those thinking of importing illicit substances – our officers have the skills and technology to find you, and the penalties are severe.”
AFP Manager Organised Crime, Acting Commander Peter Bodel said Australian authorities will continue to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs.
“Any quantity of drugs poses harm to our community – we have removed approximately 4kg of cocaine before it caused significant health, financial and social damage,” said Acting Commander Bodel.
“The AFP and its partners will continue to combat the importation of illicit drugs across international borders – we will catch, arrest and prosecute you.”
The man will appear in Sydney Central Local Court on 21 November 2018.
People with information about the importation of illicit drugs and precursors should contact Border Watch at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia’s border. Information can be provided anonymously.The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.