The largest ever drug interception operation coordinated by ACT Policing has seen approximately 384 kilograms of cocaine seized and two men charged with drug importation offences. Earlier this year, ACT Policing received information relating to a possible drug importation syndicate operating in southern New South Wales and the ACT. Read more
Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in Sydney have stopped approximately 256 litres of the narcotic Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL, taken as GHB) declared as compressor oil from reaching Australian streets. ABF officers targeted an air cargo shipment consisting of 16 boxes labelled as ‘compressor oil’ for inspection. Each box was found to contain a number of bottles.
X-rays revealed inconsistencies in the contents of some of the bottles. Further testing revealed approximately 128 litres of GBL secreted throughout the shipment. On 26 April, ABF officers selected an identical consignment for inspection. Upon examination, it was also found to contain approximately 128 litres of GBL. Both detections remain under investigation.
It’s very easy to take too much
ABF Superintendent Investigations NSW Garry Low said this detection should serve as a warning to those thinking of importing or exporting illegal substances. “GBL can ruin your life in a single incident. It is an incredibly dangerous substance with a very high overdose rate,” Superintendent Low said. “The ABF screens tens of millions of articles each year, and the fact we are able to pinpoint individual shipments and detect and seize these drugs at the border is a testament to the skills of our officers.” Anyone with information about the importation of illicit substances should contact Border Watch at: www.australia.gov.au/borderwatch.
Three men have been charged for their alleged roles in attempts to import a large number of firearms parts into Australia through the postal system. The operation began on 9 January 2019 when Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at the Melbourne International Mail Facility targeted a consignment containing a child’s toy motorcycle. X-ray analysis identified anomalies in the consignment and further examination by ABF officers revealed multiple firearm parts had been hot-glued to the outside of the motorcycle. Following further investigation with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the ABF identified another two packages that were found to contain firearms parts in a similar concealment.
Last week (21 – 24 January 2019), a number of search warrants were executed in the Melbourne suburbs of Brunswick and Southbank, as well as locations in New South Wales at locations believed to be associated with the importations. During the operation, investigators seized:
60 gun receivers.
24 drum magazines capable of holding 50 bullets.
16 handgun frames.
Springs, magazine followers, and end caps.
A 25-year-old man, a 26-year-old man and a 33-year-old man were charged with:
Possessing a traffickable quantity of unregistered firearms contrary to 7C(1) of Firearms Act 1996 (Vic).
Trafficking prohibited firearms or firearm parts into Australia contrary to section 361.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
Intentionally import goods, being tier 2 goods comprising firearm parts, being reckless as to the fact that the goods were tier 2 goods, and being goods the importation of which was prohibited under the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) unless the approval of a particular person had been obtained and at the time of the importation that approval had not been obtained, contrary to section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth).
In the course of trade or commerce among the States, between Territories or between a Territory and a State, engage in conduct that constitutes an offence under a firearm law, reckless as to the fact that the primary element of the offence is the acquisition of a firearm or a firearm part by the person contrary to section 360.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
The 33 year old male faces an additional charge in relation to the destruction of evidence. The maximum penalty for these charges is 10 years imprisonment. AFP Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said the seizures were significant, and attempts to illegally import firearms parts were always treated seriously. “Attempting to smuggle items like these will always attract a swift and comprehensive response from law enforcement. We do not want unregulated and unchecked items possibly making their way to criminal groups, which then has far-reaching consequences for the safety of the community,” Superintendent Crossling said. “There is now no chance that these weapons will end up in the dangerous hands of Outlaw Criminal Motorcycle Gangs or other criminals. The AFP and our partners will continue to work together with our international colleagues to stop these items entering our community. This is a great example of good, cooperative policing with a positive outcome for everyone.” ABF Regional Commander Victoria Craig Palmer said the detection highlights the effectiveness of the multi-layered approach deployed by ABF at the border. “ABF officers working in the international mail environment, in Melbourne and around the country, are highly skilled in targeting suspect consignments and detecting firearms parts, no matter how they are concealed,” Regional Commander Palmer said. “Our officers are supported by technology and use other detection methodologies at our international mail centres to identify a range of high risk items. In this case these techniques have helped us prevent a significant number of firearms entering the community and potentially falling into the wrong hands. “The ABF continues to work closely with our law enforcement partners to detect and seize illicit firearms parts and go after the criminals attempting to use them or profit from their importation.”
Australian Border Force (ABF) officers have charged a man after he allegedly attempted to smuggle more than 10 million cigarettes into Australia in sea cargo containers. On 10 October 2018, ABF officers identified two containers at the Melbourne Container Examination Facility. Upon further examination, both were found to contain pallets of illicit cigarettes. The total amount of cigarettes concealed in both containers is estimated to be 10,034,000, worth more than AUD $8.9 million in evaded duty. On 17 October 2018, ABF officers executed a warrant at a business address in Campbellfield and seized a number of electronic devices. On 22 October 2018, a 40-year-old man was arrested by ABF investigators and charged with one count of contravening section 233BABAD (2A) of the Customs Act 1901. He appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court and was granted conditional bail, to reappear on 21 January 2019. ABF Victoria Regional Investigations Superintendent Nicholas Walker said the operation would make a significant dent in the supply of illicit tobacco in Victoria. “This is a significant detection – we’ve been able to prevent the Commonwealth being defrauded of more than $8.9 million in legitimate revenue,” Superintendent Walker said. “Illicit tobacco is an international issue, with much of the profits from cigarettes sold illegally in Australia being used to fund other criminal activity both here and overseas.” “The ABF is committed to working with our international partners to detect, investigate and disrupt those involved in the illegal tobacco trade – and to stop the profits from these smuggling operations from funding further criminal activity.”
The maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded. The illicit tobacco market in Australia is worth about $600 million a year in evaded revenue. Targeting and dismantling this criminal activity is an operational priority for the ABF. You can help In addition to operations like this, the ABF is also leading the new Illicit Tobacco Taskforce that combines the resources of the ABF, Department of Home Affairs, ACIC, the Australian Taxation Office, AUSTRAC and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Anyone with information on the illegal importation of illicit tobacco is encouraged to contact Border Watch at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. This can be done anonymously.
Almost 60 million cigarettes have been seized as part of a joint operation targeting illicit tobacco, significantly disrupting a large criminal syndicate operating in multiple states and territories. The joint investigation involved officers from the Australian Border Force (ABF), the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and NSW Police Force. The complex investigation began in June 2017, following information received from ACIC which uncovered large scale illicit tobacco importation and money laundering undertaken by a serious organised crime syndicate with links to South East Asia. The ten subsequent seizures ranged from 38,000 cigarettes to more than 20 million in each consignment. Some were concealed among legitimate goods while others filled entire shipping containers that were deliberately declared as other items. In total, the cigarettes represented more than $40 million in evaded duty. As a result of this investigation, a number of individuals have been identified and possible charges will be laid. On March 1 this year, the QPS arrested two men on the Gold Coast and it is expected that they will face charges relating to money laundering. ABF Superintendent Leo Lahey from the Illicit Tobacco Taskforce said the operation was an example of what can be achieved when we pool the resources of our state, federal and international law enforcement and intelligence partners. “These seizures also highlight the critical need to combat the illicit tobacco trade. This work will be tasked to the new multi-agency ABF-led Illicit Tobacco Task Force which was stood up this week. Working collaboratively across agencies in this way will always be critical to success,” Superintendent Lahey said. The Illicit Tobacco Taskforce combines the resources of the ABF, Department of Home Affairs, ACIC, the Australian Taxation Office, AUSTRAC and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. ACIC Queensland State Manager Charlie Carver said serious and organised crime groups are more attracted to the Australian illicit tobacco market than ever before. “Organised crime has no borders and these significant results demonstrate the benefits of state, territory and Commonwealth agencies working together,” Mr Carver said. Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker of the Queensland Police Service Drug and Serious Crime Group said organised crime syndicates engineer a transnational grab for cash through a combination of legitimate and criminal enterprises. “We will continue to target and disrupt organised crime groups involved in money laundering as these proceeds are used to distribute illicit commodities causing great harm to our community,” Detective Superintendent Wacker said. “Engaging in the illegal tobacco trade supports organised crime syndicates and we will exploit every opportunity to dismantle their networks and recover funds and prosecute organised crime syndicates. The maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is ten years imprisonment, and penalties of up to five times the amount of duty evaded can also be imposed by the courts.
The Australian Border Force, which plays a vital role in protecting Australia’s borders, has signed on to exhibit at inaugural supply chain expo MEGATRANS2018. Responsible for the protection of Australia’s border in partnership with a range of intelligence, law enforcement and other agencies, Australian Border Force also has a major role in managing the movement of goods across the nation’s borders. This includes Australia’s airports and seaports, making it a significant addition to the MEGATRANS2018 lineup. The trade show is set to bring together leaders and stakeholders in the wider Australian and international supply chain, including those in the transport, logistics, warehousing solutions, material handling and infrastructure sectors.
A joint Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) operation has resulted in the arrest of four men following the detection of 30kg of cocaine in Brisbane. Operation AKWE began on 8 January 2018, after an ABF examination of a shipping container identified a concealment of a white powdery substance inside an upper structural rail of the container. Presumptive testing of the substance by ABF indicated a positive reading for cocaine. The goods within the container were described as 40 cases containing sports field rubber granules. The matter was then referred to the AFP. On 9 January 2018, AFP Crime Scenes deconstructed the container and located approximately 99 packages wrapped in plastic containing a compressed white powder. Further presumptive testing of the powder by AFP also indicated the presence of cocaine. As a result, the AFP commenced a controlled operation with the shipping container delivered to an address in the Brisbane suburb of Wacol. On 19 January 2018 a 45-year-old man and a 46-year-old man accessed the shipping container and removed material. These two men and another two men aged 52 and 48 were arrested. AFP acting Commander Mark Colbran, Manager Crime Operations, said this operation was relatively short in nature but saw a great outcome. “To have this operation wrapped up in a couple of weeks and to have four individuals before the court facing serious drug importation charges demonstrates the success of the partnership between the AFP and ABF, preventing these drugs coming in and protecting the community,” acting Commander Colbran said. “This activity should also serve as a warning to those who think they can slip drugs into Australia during our holiday season, we are working to disrupt your illegal trade,” he said. All four men were conveyed to AFP Brisbane Office where they were charged with importing and possessing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
DHL Global Forwarding (Australia) has been granted full accreditation by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) under the Australian Trusted Trader Program, with the signing of a formal agreement on 5 September, 2017. DHL has been involved with the government program since the initial pilot commenced in 2015 and is the largest service provider to be granted entry into the scheme. Australian Trusted Trader is a voluntary trade facilitation initiative recognising businesses with a secure supply chain and compliant trade practices that rewards accredited businesses with a range of trade facilitation benefits. Australian Trusted Trader further supports and facilitates the handling of clients’ international supply chains by service providers. Within Australia’s Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) programme, Trusted Traders work to secure the international supply chain, while facilitating the movement of legitimate trade. Australia is the only AEO programme to grant accreditation to service providers. “The Australian Border Force is pleased to welcome globally recognised service providers like DHL Global Forwarding to the Australian Trusted Trader program,” said Sneha Chatterjee, Chief Superintendent, Australian Border Force. “Trusted Traders receive a range of benefits, one of which is a seat at the table with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. This is a forum to discuss issues and initiatives that directly affect trade communities, and provides an opportunity to shape the future direction of policy and programmes.” Tony Boll, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding South Pacific, added: “This accreditation is recognition of the commitment DHL has made to supply chain security, high compliance standards and display of best industry practices as set by the DIBP. “Government-led programs such as this are incredibly important for our industry and we are proud to be awarded Trusted Trader status.”
Bolloré Logistics Australia has become the first international transport and logistics company in the country to be officially accredited as an Australian Trusted Trader under the Australian Economic Operator (AEO) programme developed by the Australian Border Force (ABF). To obtain the Trusted Trader accreditation companies must undergo an extensive audit process to satisfy the AEO that they set and maintain a high level of international supply chain and customs compliance. “Being certified an Australian Trusted Trader further supports and facilitates the handling of clients’ international supply and expedites the flow of legitimate trade from all sites in Australia,” says Michael Pinnock, National Customs Manager at Bolloré Logistics Australia. The certification is applicable to all five Bolloré sites in Australia – Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Certified companies have access to benefits such as reduced cargo inspections at the border, improved cargo lead time, duty deferral, streamlined reporting and priority trade services.