An airline freight worker is one of two people arrested in connection with the 2020 seizure of 156 kilograms of the drug pseudoephedrine, which entered the country as air cargo.
The Federal Police begun investigating the 51-year-old man’s activities as he is suspected of using his role to advise multiple criminal syndicates about law enforcement activities relating to incoming consignments of illegal goods.
Investigators allege that the airline employee, who is from Darling Point in Sydney, and a 36-year-old man from East Hills, also in Sydney, were involved in importing 156 kilograms of pseudoephedrine in fabric rolls from India via air cargo. It was seized by members of the Australian Border Force in October last year.
After receiving information via Operation Ironside – the international digital sting operation run by the AFP and America’s FBI that is netting thousands of criminals around the world – police executed search warrants at the homes of the two men.
Police seize items after two homes are searched
Approximately $15,000 in cash and multiple electronic devices were seized from the East Hills home, while a mobile phone was seized from the search warrant at Darling Point.
Both men were arrested at their homes and charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled precursor, namely pseudoephedrine. The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years’ imprisonment.
Police have not ruled out further charges against the men.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government says the Transport Security Amendment (Serious Crime) Bill, which passed through Parliament on Wednesday, will strengthen security and close loopholes for criminal gangs in relation to people who work at airports, seaports and offshore facilities.
Without this legislation, people with serious criminal backgrounds could be allowed work in the most secure areas of the nation’s airports and seaports.
Over 200 people ‘of interest’ had secure area access
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission found in 2019 that 227 people who held passes for unescorted access to secure areas at airports and ports were on either the National Criminal Target List or the National Gangs list.
According to Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews, the legislation will establish a regulatory framework so that people convicted of serious offences, or with known links to serious and organised crime groups, will be ineligible to hold an aviation and maritime security identification card.
“Serious and organised crime is a major threat to the Australian way of life. It causes enormous human suffering and is estimated to cost the Australian economy more than $47-billion annually,” she said.
“This Government won’t stand by while airports and seaports are used as transit points for organised criminals to import weapons, illicit drugs and other harmful goods into Australia.”