Printer cartridges found to contain meth, not toner

A joint operation has resulted in a 27-year-old Hong Kong national being charged in Melbourne with importing approximately seven kilograms of methamphetamine.

The operation began last month when Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) at the Sydney Air Cargo facility intercepted a consignment of three boxes each labelled to contain printer cartridges.

Closer inspection of the cartridges showed they contained a white powder instead of toner. An additional similar package was intercepted two days later and also found to contain a white powder. All four boxes were addressed to the same recipient.

Presumptive testing of the powder confirmed that it was methamphetamine. 

The AFP, in a joint operation with ACBPS, began an operation to identify the recipient and conducted a controlled delivery of the four boxes to an address in the Melbourne CBD.

Late yesterday (Wednesday) a 27-year-old female Hong Kong national was arrested following her receipt and access of the packages.

She was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine contrary to subsection 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to subsection 307.5(1), of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). 

AFP Manager Serious and Organised Crime Scott Lee said that parcel post is an avenue of drug importation that law enforcement agencies are well aware of.

“The AFP and ACBPS are committed to targeting importations of illicit substances on every scale. Low-quantity, high-volume importations pose a significant risk to the community,” Commander Lee said.

“This importation is at the higher end of the scale for mail items, and today’s arrest is yet another example of Australian law enforcement agencies sharing information, intelligence and resources to bring criminals to account.”

ACBPS Regional Commander Victoria and Tasmania, Don Smith, said that this is another great example of illegal substances being disrupted before reaching our streets.

“Joint operations such as this allow us to work with our law enforcement partners to protect our community from dangerous drugs such as methamphetamine; and the Service is proud of our role in this,” Commander Smith said.

“Our warning to anyone who would consider smuggling these drugs into Australia is that when you are caught you will face the full force of the law.”

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

Investigations into this matter remain ongoing.

Media enquiries:
ACPBS Media (02) 6275 6793
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333

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