A Melbourne man faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on 2 March 2023 after allegedly importing 24kg of cocaine concealed in a consignment of water pumps.
The St Kilda man, 31, was arrested following an Australian Border Force (ABF) detection of illicit drugs concealed within an air cargo consignment of water pumps imported into Melbourne from Greece.
The 24 kilograms of cocaine has an estimated street value of more than $10 million. Further forensic testing will be conducted to determine the exact weight and purity of the drugs.
AFP investigators with assistance from Victoria Police’s VIPER Taskforce conducted a controlled delivery to an address in Melbourne and executed a search warrant at a St Kilda residence where the man was arrested.
The man was conveyed to the AFP Southern Command Headquarters in Melbourne where he was charged with:
- Importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
- Attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
- Dealing with identification information with the intention of committing an indictable offence, contrary to section 372.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
The maximum penalty for the drug offences is life imprisonment and five years’ imprisonment for dealing in identification information.
AFP Detective Superintendent Anthony Hall said the AFP, in partnership with domestic law enforcement partners, is committed to disrupting the activities of people attempting to import illicit drugs.
“We share a common goal to protect our community by ensuring that these illegal and dangerous drugs do not make their way to our streets,” Det. Supt. Hall said.
“We estimate this seizure has saved the community more than $15 million in drug-related harm, including associated crime, healthcare and loss of productivity.
“Part of the AFP strategy to combat transnational serious and organised crime is to target their business model and confiscate any assets the criminal syndicates acquire through profiting from importing illicit drugs into Australia. Those assets represent the abhorrent harm and misery they inflict on the Australian community.”
ABF Superintendent Tori Rosemond praised the work of ABF officers who detected the attempted illegal import.
“Our officers are highly trained and capable when it comes to detecting attempts of this nature, and they are committed to protecting the Australian community from the scourge of illegal drugs,” Superintendent Rosemond said.
“Our technical expertise and sophisticated technology means that we will find the drugs, regardless of the method of concealment these criminals use.
“This operation shows that when we work together with our law enforcement partners, criminals don’t stand a chance and can expect to be brought to justice.”
The following services provide people with access to support and information.
- For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
- Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at www.counsellingonline.org.au.
- For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to www.turningpoint.org.au.