Penalties & Defences for Importing Commercial Quantity of MDMA into Australia


It is reported that two men have allegedly tried to import 645kg of MDMA drugs from Cyprus to Sydney by hiding it in aluminium BBQ’s.

Police allege that the drugs were being imported to Sydney in 200 aluminium barbeques in July last year.

Following an investigation lasting 6-months, authorities have arrested two men, a 30-year old man from Queensland and a 33-year-old man from Canada who have both been arrested by police.

The investigation was conducted in a joint operation with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Cyprus Drug Law Enforcement Unit, UK National Crime Agency and the Australian Border Force (ABF).

The find came following a tip off from Cyprus authorities ,which resulted in the ABF discovering the aluminium BBQ’s which had the drugs concealed inside.

After making the discrete finding, authorities in Sydney replaced the actual MDMA drugs with fake drugs and allowed the aluminium BBQ’s to reach its intended destination in Sydney- this then assisted police in finding the people involved.

This led to the arrest of the two men.

Kirsty Schofield, AFP Commander for Organised Crime has said, “The size of this seizure and amount of harm it could potentially have caused cannot be understate, and the Australian community is safer for it not being on our streets.”

Penalties & Defences for Importing Commercial Quantity of MDMA into Australia

Importing illegal drugs into Australia is also referred to as importing a border-controlled drug.

This is a crime that carries with it a heavy maximum punishments depending on the drug and weight of the drug.

Clause 1, schedule 2 of the Criminal Code Regulations 2019 (Cth) outlines all the border-controlled drugs in Australia- including MDMA.

In Australia, the law and penalties for importing drugs is prescribed by the Commonwealth law of Australia under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). This means that it applies Australia-wide regardless of the laws of the State or Territory generally.

Section 307.1 Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) also known as the ‘Criminal Code’ prescribes a maximum punishment of life in jail and/or up to $1,575,000 fine for exporting or importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drug into Australia.

Our other article outlines the penalties for importing or exporting a marketable or any other quantity of border-controlled drugs.

What is the threshold weight for a commercial quantity of MDMA and other types of border-controlled drugs in Australia?

The following outlines the threshold weight categories for marketable and commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs:

  • MDMA: Marketable quantity: 100g or more, but less than 750g
  • MDMA: Commercial quantity: 500g or more.
  • Cocaine: Marketable quantity: 250g or more, but less than 2kg.
  • Cocaine: Commercial quantity: 2kg or more.
  • Methamphetamine: Marketable quantity: 250g or more, but less than 750g.
  • Methamphetamine: Commercial quantity: 750g or more.
  • Cannabis: Marketable quantity: 25kg or more, but less than 125kg.
  • Cannabis: Commercial quantity: 125kg or more.

A Court in Australia will find you guilty of importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs if the police can prove each of the following elements beyond reasonable doubt:

  1. You imported a border-controlled drug.
  2. You intended to import it.
  3. At the time of doing this, you were aware that there was a significant or real chance that it was a border-controlled drug.
  4. In circumstances known to you, while in those circumstances, it was not justifiable to take the risk of still importing it.
  5. You took the risk of importing it regardless of such risk.
  6. It was a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs.

What are some of the defence to importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs? These defences include any one or more of the following:

  1. Knowledge: You weren’t aware that it was a border-controlled drug.
  2. Intention to import: you did not intend to import the border-controlled drug.
  3. You didn’t import the border-controlled drug.
  4. You imported it due to a duress or necessity.

Want to know more? Contact our friendly team of Sydney’s leading criminal lawyers to arrange a free appointment today. We’re available 24/7 on (02) 8606 2218 or book online.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.

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