Man jailed over nearly 300kg of MDMA concealed in coffee beans

A 35-year-old Melbourne man has been jailed for 10 years for attempting to possess nearly 300 kilograms of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) smuggled from overseas inside bags of coffee beans.

The Avondale Heights man was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court today (16 June 2020) for his role in attempting to possess 298.3kg of the illicit drug – with an estimated street value of around $14.9m – exported from the Netherlands to Melbourne in 2018. He was given a non-parole period of five years and six months.

On 26 June 2018, a courier company alerted the Australian Border Force (ABF) after attempting to deliver the consignment to an empty shopfront in Melbourne. The courier company was also concerned by the suspicious behavior of the 35-year-old man as he tried to take receipt of the package at the empty shopfront.

Following the report to Border Watch, ABF officers identified anomalies in the consignment using X-Ray technology and referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The AFP then deconstructed the consignment to reveal several packages of MDMA, with information provided by the courier company leading investigators to the man’s address.

AFP investigators arrested and charged the man on 3 July 2018 while executing a search warrant at his Avondale Heights property.

In December 2019, a jury in the Melbourne County Court found him guilty of the following offence:

  • Attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, contrary to sub-sections 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

AFP Detective Superintendent Ian Bate said the AFP and its law enforcement agency partners remained committed to stopping organised crime in its tracks.

“This outcome shows how valuable community can be in assisting law enforcement to prevent illicit drugs from hitting our streets,” Detective Superintendent Bates said.

“The warning is clear. No matter how innovative or sophisticated these criminals become, we are working day and night to track these offenders and will continue to prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”

ABF Regional Commander Victoria Craig Palmer said it’s a great example of how the ABF work closely with industry stakeholders to identify people attempting to conceal illicit substances in goods crossing our border.

“Protecting the Australian Community from harmful and illicit substances is a top priority for the ABF,” Commander Palmer said.

“The ABF works closely with industry and regularly receive information that leads to the detection and seizure of goods imported illegally.”

Anyone who is aware of criminal activity of this kind is urged to contact Border Watch at australia.gov.au/borderwatch

Investigations into the international drug syndicate continue.

Operation Darkflame photos are available on Hightail.

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

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