It is reported that two men and a woman aged in their late 30’s have allegedly been involved in the drug importation of 1.6 tonnes of methamphetamine valued at over $1 billion.

From the three charged, a male and a female were customs agents, and trusted insiders who the police believe used their positions of trust to bypass the border-controls system we have in Australia.

Their roles involved transporting goods from one facility to another.

The drugs were discovered by Australian Border Force authorities in April when it arrived in Melbourne in a sea cargo consignment.

The drugs were secreted inside stereo speakers, which also included over 35kg of heroin, valued at about $18.5 million.

The 1.6 tonne (1,600kg) package is estimated to be the equivalent of nearly 16 million drug deals– considered the biggest ever onshore drug seizure.

Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan said, “It’s almost a quarter of the annual usage in Australia, so this will have an impact”.

In respect to the people involved, Mr. Gaughan said, “They are trusted insiders in the industry. They used their position of trust to circumvent the border controls that exist within Australia.”

“The vulnerability has been fully removed.”

It is believed that the two former custom agents who have been charged are likely to have been utilised by an organised crime syndicate.

Mr. Gaughan said, “There’s people above them, we think we know who they are, we’ll keep working on the investigation to try to bring them to justice as well”.

For more information on drug importation in Australia, contact our drug lawyers in Sydney for a free no obligation confidential consultation.

Penalties for Importing Commercial Quantity of Methamphetamine (‘Ice’)

The penalties for drug importation of a commercial quantity of Methamphetamine or ice into Australia are severe.

Section 307.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) prescribes a maximum penalty of life in jail and/or up to a fine of $1,575,000.

What is a commercial quantity of methamphetamine? The commercial quantity of methamphetamine is 500g or more. The marketable quantity of this is 0.5g and less than 500g.

The marketable and commercial quantities are different for other border-controlled drugs. For example, for cocaine, the commercial quantity is 2kg or more, whereas the marketable quantity is 2g or more, but less than 2kg.

A border-controlled drug is methamphetamine, MDMA, cannabis, cocaine, heroin & GHB. A list of all the current border-controlled drugs is outlined in schedule 2 of the Criminal Code Regulation 2019 (Cth).

A border-controlled drug is considered to have been imported the moment it reaches Australia from another country, from which point it’s delivered elsewhere, where it ends up remaining within Australia.

The case of DPP v De La Rose [2010] NSWCCA 194 provides a general guide for courts when determining an appropriate penalty to impose during sentence for drug importation offences in Australia.

Some defences to a charge of importing a commercial quantity of methamphetamine include:

  1. Lack of knowledge that it was a border-controlled drug.
  2. Duress of necessity.
  3. The drug weight is less than the commercial quantity without the packaging.
  4. The border-controlled drug is not a recognised border-controlled drug.

To be found ‘guilty’ of the charge of importing a commercial quantity of methamphetamine, the prosecution must prove each of the following elements beyond reasonable doubt in court:

  1. The drugs were imported.
  2. The drugs were intended to be imported by the accused.
  3. The drugs are a recognised border-controlled drug.
  4. The accused had knowledge that it was a border-controlled drug or was aware of a substantial risk that it was.
  5. It was unjustifiable in those circumstances and known to the accused, to risk importing it; and
  6. The risk was taken by the accused regardless.

Need urgent advice? Contact our friendly team of criminal lawyers located in Sydney CBD and NSW to arrange a free consultation today.

Published on 11/12/2019

AUTHOR 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.

View all posts by Jimmy Singh