A subcontractor to Australia’s postal service has been charged with drug offences after allegedly using his position to facilitate the importation of methamphetamine into NSW.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) began investigating the matter in October 2020 after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers detected an illicit substance inside a consignment of 210 nicotine vape bottles, with a total weight of 18.5 kilograms, which were flown into Sydney,.
Forensic testing confirmed the nicotine vials returned a positive result for methamphetamine. The total estimated amount of liquid methamphetamine was approximately 12.6 litres.
Second, identical, package also recovered
Authorities then worked to identify and recover a second, identical, package which had been delivered into NSW. This second consignment was allegedly tampered with by a 35-year-old postal subcontractor, who police allege removed an estimated 60% of its contents before returning it to authorities.
An investigation – codenamed Operation Centinel-Albina – resulted in the AFP executing search warrants in December 2020 at the man’s residence in Parramatta, an area of Sydney.
During the warrants, police seized mobile phones and a number of ‘burner SIM card holders’ related to the offending.
Suspect used his job to get access to parcel
It will be alleged the suspect was involved in the drug trade, using his role as a postal subcontractor to access the parcel, which he allegedly knew contained narcotics, and remove them during his delivery route.
Yesterday (Thursday) he was charged with two counts of importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, one count of possessing a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border-controlled drug, and one count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border-controlled drug.
The suspect did not apply for bail and will next appear before Sydney’s Central Local court on 4 February. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment.
An infiltration attempt by organised crime
AFP Commander of Investigations, Kirsty Schofield, said the investigation uncovered an attempt from organised crime to infiltrate Australian businesses.
“The AFP commends the prompt actions of the ABF in identifying this alleged criminal conduct by a subcontractor and swiftly responding,” Schofield said.
“This was an opportunistic attempt to use a position of insight and access into the mail delivery system, motivated by personal gain and greed.”