WA pair charged over cocaine importation

This is a media release between Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force

Two Perth men have been charged over the importation of 3.99 kilograms of cocaine into WA, worth a potential $1.6 million, hidden in purses sent from the United Kingdom.

Australian Federal Police will allege the package of purses was delivered to the Willagee home of a 28-year-old man and he was arrested on Monday (21 June 2021) after he allegedly opened the consignment.

Further police inquiries allegedly revealed a Southern River man, also 28, was also involved in the importation and he was arrested yesterday (23 June 2021).

The Southern River man is expected to appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court today (Thursday, 24 June 2021) and the Willagee man is due back in court again on 27 August 2021.

An investigation into the importation was launched earlier this month after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in Perth intercepted a package that contained 16 small cardboard boxes with a purse in each.

ABF officers examined the consignment and allegedly found a vacuum sealed bag of white powder within each purse. The substance returned a positive presumptive test for cocaine.

The matter was referred to the AFP and officers removed the illicit drugs before the package was delivered to the Willagee home.

Police will allege the Willagee man signed for the package and later opened the package and sent images of the contents to the Southern River man.

Both men have been charged with:

  • importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely cocaine, contrary to subsection 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • attempted to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

AFP Commander John Tanti said the AFP works closely with partner agencies to prevent illicit drugs from reaching Australian streets and will prosecute anyone who tries to profit at the expense of our communities.

“There is violence and misery throughout the cocaine supply chain and anyone who purchases this drug lines the pockets of criminals,” Commander Tanti said.

“The potential penalties show how seriously these crimes are taken by the Government and the community and we will do whatever we can to disrupt this damaging trade.”

ABF Commander Operations West James Copeman says that the arrests are the result of long-standing positive collaboration between the Australian Border Force and AFP.

“The efforts of the AFP and ABF have once again successfully intercepted a quantity of harmful drugs that would otherwise go on to destroy lives and communities. This detection is a credit to the hard working officers working in our air cargo teams,” he said.

“This successful outcome is testament to the ABF’s and our law enforcement partners’ continued focus on preventing the international supply of drugs into the Australian market.”

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