Australian Federal Police (AFP) have arrested a 67-year-old Canberra man at Melbourne International Airport for allegedly attempting to import 6kg of heroin concealed in his luggage.
The man was stopped by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers following his arrival from Manila last Tursday.
AFP officers were called to assist as ABF officers performed x-ray scans of the man’s belongings, which included one suitcase and two handbags.
Anomalies in the scans prompted officers to conduct further examinations of the bags, where they allegedly discovered a white power in the linings of all three bags. Presumptive testing returned a positive result for heroin, the AFP said in a statement.
The AFP arrested the man and charged him with the importation and possession of a commercial quantity of a border controlled substance. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Amanda Glover said the AFP worked closely with its law enforcement partners to stop illicit drugs from reaching Australian communities.
“Illicit drugs like heroin cause significant harm to the Australian community,” Det Acting Supt Glover said.
“They are an impost on our health system and heavily impact every aspect of society.
“If this attempted importation had made it to our streets, it would have been enough to make up 30,000 individual street deals and put more than $2.5 million into the pockets of greedy criminals.
“The AFP is committed to ensuring robust aviation security arrangements to protect the public and integrity of the border.”
ABF Superintendent Kelly-Anne Parish said criminals would go to any lengths in attempting to import illegal substances.
“Criminals like these do not care about the harm their actions cause, only about the potential profits,” Superintendent Parish said.
“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to defend the Australian border, a critical national asset in protecting our community.”
He was remanded in custody and will face Melbourne Magistrates Court on 18 January, 2024.