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09 July 2024, 11:54am
Media Release

NSW woman charged over Sydney airport heroin import

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force

Editors Note: Images of the seizure are available via Hightail

A NSW woman was refused bail before Sydney’s Parramatta Local Court on Sunday (7 July 2024) after the AFP charged her for allegedly smuggling more than 7kg of heroin into Australia in her suitcase.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers selected the woman, 62, for a baggage examination after she arrived at Sydney Airport on Saturday (6 July, 2024) on an international flight.

Officers located several plastic packages in a search of one of the woman’s suitcases. Presumptive testing indicated the substance in packages was likely to be heroin.

The ABF reported the incident to AFP officers at Sydney Airport, who conducted further investigations and questioned the woman.

The AFP seized the packages and the contents will undergo further forensic examination.

The AFP charged the woman with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

The woman was remanded in custody to reappear at the Downing Centre on 4 September 2024.  

AFP Detective Superintendent Morgen Blunden said the AFP worked closely with ABF and other partners to ensure air travel and airports were not used for a criminal supply chain.

“The AFP and ABF are relentless in disrupting all levels of the drug trade and stopping anyone who tries to profit at the expense of our community,” Det Supt Blunden said.

“The market for illicit drugs in Australia is strong. However, the AFP and its partners will continue to work tirelessly to combat the supply of these dangerous substances into Australia, regardless of quantity.

“Latest reporting shows that on average, one person in Australia dies for every 2.5kg of heroin consumed.” *

ABF Acting Superintendent Clint Unwin said keeping illicit substances out of the hands of criminals who try to make a profit at the expense of vulnerable members of the community is a priority for the ABF.

“Our officers at the airport are highly skilled at observing passenger behaviours to identify potential threats,” Acting Superintendent Unwin said.

“Our message is clear: whatever illicit substance criminals try to import, and however they try to hide it, they will face significant consequences.”

*Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report

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