Using hi-tech X-ray equipment that has only been in operation for 4 months, border officials have intercepted a haul of cocaine and ice hidden in a containerload of mining machinery.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) initially detected the stash of drugs when they used their new advanced x-ray to scan a shipping container from South Africa that was discharged at the Port of Melbourne last December 15. Even though the smugglers had covered the illicit drugs with shards of charcoal – a technique that tricks older conventional x-rays – ABF’s futuristic hi-tech equipment picked up an anomaly. They then carried out a physical inspection and found 254kg of cocaine and 104kg of methamphetamine (ice) in 358 packages, camouflaged in charcoal and inserted inside mining machinery.
Once discovered, officers put the drugs back where they found them and let the container continue on its journey in what is known as a ‘controlled delivery.’ They monitored the cargo as it went by train to Sydney. On Sunday 5th February they arrested three men in Sydney, then executed search warrants in the NSW Central Coast and Victoria. Later a fourth man was arrested back in Melbourne.
All four face charges of importing illicit drugs in a commercial quantity and possession offences – the maximum penalty may be life in prison. With the staggering advances in 21st Century technology, the ABF faces an ongoing struggle to stay one step ahead of smart criminals.