Almost two kilograms of methamphetamine has been found hidden in packages containing coronavirus goods including masks and hand sanistiser.
Australian Border Force officers at the Sydney Gateway Facility first became suspicious after inspecting a package sent from Canada on 6 May, which was described as containing medicine and clothing.
Officers opened the package and found boxes of face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser, however soon discovered a false bottom inside which contained one kilogram of methamphetamine stashed inside a black vacuum sealed bag.
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Just two days later, a second consignment from Canada was examined by officers at the Sydney facility.
It also contained boxes of face masks and two bottles of hand sanitiser, however a crystal-like substance was found inside the hand sanitiser bottles which returned a positive result for methamphetamine.
Border Force said a total of 800 grams of the drug was found inside the two bottles.
Superintendent for International Mail, Cargo Clearance & Systems Support John Fleming said ABF officers are on the look-out for anyone trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to smuggle drugs into Australia.
“We know criminals will go to any length to smuggle drugs into the country, so it’s no surprise they’re trying to use in-demand items such as masks and hand sanitiser to hide them in,” Superintendent Fleming said.
“Criminals should know our efforts to secure our border have not stopped because of COVID-19.
“Sea containers are still being examined and items being sent through the mail centre or air cargo are still being screened. We are continuing to detect and stop illicit substances coming into Australia, no matter how they’re being concealed.”