- Amphetamine busts are up 20 per cent on last year
- Drug gangs are coming up with weird ways to beat Australian Customs
- They are hiding substances inside toilet deliveries and extension cords as well as truck tires and kayaks
- ContacNT is a potent form of pseudoephedrine from China which has become a new battle for drug enforcement agencies
- Australia is training customs teams from across Asia on detection techniques, in an attempt to stem the flow of illicit drugs
With amphetamine busts up almost 20 per cent on the previous year, drug lords are coming up with more weird and not so wonderful ways of trying to get their illegal substances into Australia.
Drugs are being concealed inside everything from boxed up toilets to the everyday electrical extension cord.Almost 500 illegal drug imports are seized each week Australian by Customs and Border Protection teams.
Dunny or drug box? AFP and Customs officials found this box was full of methamphetamines when they busted a drug shipment into Melbourne
This box was supposed to contain new toilets but Customs officers and AFP investigations found more than 50 kilograms of methamphetamine when they opened it up
The extension power cord is cut open to unveil hidden pseudoephedrine imported from China
Racket or racquets? An importation of tennis equipment was found to contain large quantities of the banned pseudoephedrine ContacNT from China
The highly potent pseudoephedrine called ContacNT from China has become a popular drug of choice from crime gangs. This shipment saw the substance concealed in the handles of tennis racquets
Ephedrine was packed and concealed into this helmet
Among the most surprising was a haul of 50 kilograms of methamphetamine in Melbourne earlier this year, where a combined AFP, Customs and Victoria Police operation stopped a crime gang’s attempt to bring the illicit drug in as part of a large toilet shipment.
And the latest drug of choice in recent times appears to be ContacNT, a powerful form of pseudoephedrine out of China.
It’s been found inside extension cords, the handles of tennis racquets and in batteries too.
‘The risks to the Australian community posed by the movement of drugs and precursors continue to be high,’ said Michael Pezzullo, chief executive of Australian Customs and Border Protection Services (ACBPS).
This shipment was described as a ‘textile machine’ but on arrival Customs teams found 20 kilograms of meth inside. A 46 year old Taiwanese national was arrested and charged
Customs officers inspect a truck in which more than 200 kilograms of meth was concealed in the tires.
Heavy haulage vehicles are being used by criminals to conceal their drug shipments. More than 200 kilograms of methamphetamine was concealed in the large tires
During the past year the ACBPS, which uses 42 specially trained ‘detector dog teams’ has made more than 25,000 drug busts, over 11,000 were major illicit drugs and precursors, with a total weight of more than four tones.
ACBPS officials also said that drug rings have increasingly used heavy vehicle, machinery and other equipment imports, including kayaks, to hide their material.
One heavy haulage truck had more than 200 kilograms of meth packed into its large tires.
More than six kilograms of ephedrine was found concealed inside these bike seats
Earlier this year $180 million worth of crystal meth, which had been hidden in more than a dozen sea kayaks, was uncovered at a Sydney warehouse.
Five people were charged over the shipment from China.
‘Travel and trade patterns within and to Australia are becoming more complex, with the range of goods, bio-security hazards and economic risks growing,’ said Mr Pezzullo.
‘The geographic area in which the service operates is also expanding, with an increased number of remote ports coming on-line and increasing operational activity.
ACBPS officers this week joined forces with counterparts from across the region to strengthen maritime security in South East Asia, in an attempt to stem the flow of illicit substances.
Officials from Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand have been undertaking vessel search training.
ACBPS National Manager Border Force Capability Terry Wall said this course was an important part of the service’s engagement with its international counterparts in the region.
‘Border security agencies across the region and the world face a shared and ongoing threat from organised criminal networks who are constantly seeking to breach our borders,’ Mr Wall said.
Criminal networks have gone as far as stuffing chocolates with Methamphetamines to try and avoid detection by Australian Customs officials