A costly delivery - WA man charged over mailed meth and $197,000 illicit cash

Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

A WA man is expected to face Perth Magistrates Court today (9 October 2020) over the seizure of illicit drugs and $197,000 cash, after a joint investigation into an intercepted mail package containing methamphetamine.

The 31-year-old man was charged on 29 September 2020 after an investigation by Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) into the parcel post consignment.

ABF officers at the Sydney Gateway Facility found about one kilogram of a white crystalline substance concealed in the lining of a black handbag, when they examined the package from Canada on 22 September.

The substance returned a presumptive positive test result for methamphetamine and the matter was referred to the AFP.

AFP officers replaced the illicit drugs with an inert substance and, in partnership with ACIC, facilitated delivery to the alleged intended recipient, a 31-year-old Secret Harbour man. 

On Tuesday September 29, AFP investigators executed a search warrant at the man’s home and found a black handbag, which they allege had contained the substituted drugs, with the lining torn open. The delivery packaging and box were found in a bin.

Other items seized included the substituted substance repackaged into two vacuum sealed bags; 150 grams of methamphetamine in a separate vacuum sealed bag; approximately 14 grams of marijuana; assorted drug-related paraphernalia, including scales and a vacuum sealer, and an encrypted mobile telephone. Police also allegedly found $197,000 cash in a backpack in the man’s wardrobe.

The man, who faced court for the first time on 30 September, is expected to appear again today on three charges:

  • attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine, contrary to sub-sections 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • trafficking a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 302.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • dealing in the proceeds of crime, money or property worth $100,000 or more, contrary to section 400.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The first offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

AFP Acting Superintendent Renee Colley said while there is a high demand for methamphetamine in Western Australia, the AFP will continue to contribute to efforts of all law enforcement in ensuring the State is not an attractive target for drug traffickers.

“People involved in this illicit trade do not care about the harm that drug use causes in the community, they care only about the money they can make,” she said.  

“We are working closely with our partners to stop these destructive drugs from reaching our community and strip criminals of their illegal profits.”

ABF Acting NSW Regional Commander Brendan Slape said regardless of how criminals try to hide their drugs, the ABF’s highly skilled officers will find them.

“ABF officers are constantly on the lookout for illicit drugs being sent through the postal system, and they will detect and stop them, no matter how small or large the consignment,” Acting Commander Slape said.

“This arrest demonstrates the ABF is committed to working with its law enforcement partners to ensure anyone who tries to smuggle drugs into Australia is caught and penalised.”

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

** Editor’s note: images are available via Hightail.