While the majority of Australians enjoyed their holiday season, ABF officers continued their 24/7 mission to prevent drug smuggling and protect the Australian community.
The centrepiece was 500 kilograms of cocaine seized on Christmas Day as part of the ABF’s supporting role in Operation Okesi, a long-running Australian Federal Police and NSW Police investigation. However, the ABF made another 13 significant illicit drug detections totalling about 65kg during the festive season.
The perception among the criminal underworld may be that the holiday season is an opportune time to smuggle illicit drugs across the border but there is no break in activities for the Australian Border Force. Between 22 December 2016 and 2 January 2017, there were 33 significant detections of varying illegal items and illicit drugs across a range of border entry points with detections made in air cargo, sea cargo, mail centres and among international flight arrivals at airports.
The 14 significant detections of illicit drugs included cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine and GBL. There were 11 detections of illicit precursor chemicals including ephedrine, totalling more than 100kg. ABF officers were also busy working with police after the 19 December detection and seizure of about 300kg of pure pseudoephedrine hidden in washing powder as part of Operation Haughton.
Illicit tobacco featured over the Christmas period with almost 4.2 tonnes of tobacco and 21.7 million cigarettes seized. There were also two detections of testosterone, a prohibited performance and image enhancing drug, and an attempt to smuggle three lizards out of the country was thwarted.
ABF officers vow to continue to target drug and tobacco smugglers, and others who would seek to import dangerous and illegal goods which pose a threat to our communities.