While the majority of Australians enjoyed time with family and friends this holiday season, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers continued their 24/7 mission to detect drug smuggling attempts 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 detection’s totalling about 65kg during the festive season.
Deputy Commissioner Operations Michael Outram said public holidays such as Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are just another business day for the dedicated men and women of the ABF.
“The perception among the criminal underworld may be that the holiday season is an opportune time to smuggle illicit drugs across the border,” Deputy Commissioner Outram said.
“But there is no break for the watchful eye of the border force officer.”
Between 22 December 2016 and 2 January 2017, there were 33 significant detection’s 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 detection’s of illicit drugs included cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine and GBL.
There were 11 detection’s 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 detection’s of testosterone, a prohibited performance and image enhancing drug, and an attempt to smuggle three lizards out of the country was thwarted.
“ABF officers worked tirelessly this holiday season and these results reflect the outcome of that hard work and co-operation with our law enforcement partners across Australia and overseas,” Deputy Commissioner Outram said.
“We will 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.”