Elderly traveller charged over heroin in suitcase lining

The Australian Federal Police (AFP)​ has charged a New Zealand national with attempting to import about 2kg of heroin in his luggage through Melbourne International Airport yesterday (26 July, 2023).

The man, 77, faced Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday and was remanded in custody.

Australian Border Force officers (ABF) examined the man’s luggage after he had arrived on a flight from Thailand and allegedly found white powder in the lining of the man’s suitcase.

The substance was tested and returned a presumptive positive result for heroin.

About 2kg of heroin was allegedly removed from the suitcase. The AFP charged the man with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled substance, namely heroin, contrary to section 307.2(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Amanda Glover said the AFP works closely with its law enforcement partners to stop illicit drugs reaching Australian streets.

“Drug traffickers prey on our community, causing drug-related crime and the associated health and social costs,” Detective Acting Superintendent Amanda Glover said.

“Every detection of drugs at the border keeps our community safer and ensure that drug traffickers cannot reap profits by preying on Australians.”

ABF Superintendent Kelly-anne Parish said ABF officers are highly skilled and are always on alert to detect and stop the importation of illicit substances coming into Australia.

“Criminals will try to hide illicit drugs in a variety of ways, however no matter the amount of drugs that are hidden, big or small, our officers have the technology and expertise to find them,” Supt Parish said.

“This is a good example of the real-time capabilities of our officers working at the border, 24 hours a day, to protect the Australian community from harmful drugs.

“The ABF and AFP work hard to protect the Australian community from the scourge of drugs and ensure airports are not part of the illicit supply chain.”