78-year-old Canadian ‘drug mule’ gets 12 years jail in Australia

The man was arrested in June 2022, after his luggage was selected for an examination by a quarantine official at Melbourne International Airport.

A Canadian national, 78, has been sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment by the County Court of Victoria yesterday (2 February 2024), after importing 18kg of methamphetamine through Melbourne Airport in 2022.

The man was arrested in June 2022, after his luggage was selected for an examination by a quarantine official at Melbourne International Airport.

The luggage was then referred to Australian Border Force (ABF) officers who located a white crystalline substance inside seven shoeboxes concealed within his suitcase.

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Testing of the substance returned a positive result for methamphetamine and the matter was referred to the AFP.

The AFP established there was 18.55kg of crystal methamphetamine in the shoeboxes, which had an estimated street value of more than $17 million.

AFP Detective Superintendent Simone Butcher said she hoped the case sent a strong warning to people about the consequences of attempting to smuggle illicit drugs into Australia.

“The risk of spending significant time in jail – particularly for a foreign national who may be a long way from their family and friends – far outweighs the potential financial gains of importing illicit drugs into Australia,” Det-Supt Butcher said.

“The AFP works tirelessly with ABF and other partners at the border to ensure these dangerous substances don’t reach our communities. In this instance, ABF prevented about 185,500 street deals of methamphetamine from being distributed.

“We know the devastating impact methamphetamine and other drugs have on individuals and our communities – that’s why we’re committed to stopping the flow at our border.”

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The man was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

He pleaded guilty in April 2023 at a plea hearing and was sentenced today to 12 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of eight years.

ABF Acting Superintendent Ian Beasant said it was likely the passenger thought concealing methamphetamine in shoeboxes would go undetected.

“Our officers have seen every trick in the book with passengers thinking they can outsmart our officers, and this man is now paying a very heavy price for that misconception,” Acting Supt Beasant said.

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