Federal authorities have seized 73 kilograms of drugs and arrested three Malaysian nationals trying to smuggle their illicit cargo through Melbourne Airport. After arriving yesterday at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, the three men attempted to pass through customs but were intercepted by members of the Australian Border Force (ABF). Their luggage was examined and a total of 55 kilograms of methamphetamine and 18 kilograms of heroin were found. According to ABF Acting Commissioner Michael Outram, the haul was one of the largest that had ever been seized at an Australian airport. “This seizure represents one of the largest seizures in Australian history through an Australian international airport, which proves law enforcement agencies are working harder than ever to keep drugs out of our community,” he said.
So far, two of the men have been charged with the importation of a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs. The third member of the group will be charged at a later date.
In recent years, there has been an observable tendency on the part of Australian drug users to favour amphetamine type substances (ATS) over alternative narcotics. While a large proportion of these illicit substances were once manufactured domestically, in large part because of the ready availability of precursor chemicals, the tightening of relevant law enforcement mechanisms has reduced this practice. Now, criminal groups are increasingly obliged to source precursor chemicals and drugs offshore. As a result of this, there are noticeably more narcotic and precursor chemical seizures at the border. In the 2013-14 reporting period alone, the number of ATS detections at the border increased to 2 367, the highest number on record. Interestingly, international mail accounted for the majority of ATS detections in Australia during this period while sea cargo accounted for the greatest proportion of detections by weight.
According to a recent report published by the Australian Crime Commission, China is the primary embarkation point for ATS (excluding MDMA), followed by Mexico, Hong Kong and the United States. Serious and organised criminal groups are believed at the centre of this thriving drug market.