AFP warns of serious consequences for drug crimes as eleven people jailed in WA since December

Eleven men have been sentenced to a combined 86 years’ imprisonment in West Australian courts since December 2023 after being charged by the AFP for their roles in seven unrelated drug trafficking and distribution plots.

The offenders, aged between 23 and 55, were convicted of possessing or attempting to possess methamphetamine or cocaine, with a combined total weight of 117kg.

Ten of the eleven men were convicted of attempting to possess imported drugs, with the illicit substances smuggled into Australia in purses, vehicle parts, pillows, leggings and a board game.

The cases since December 2023 were:

AFP Commander Graeme Marshall said the dedication of the AFP and partner agencies to combat drug crime, no matter the size or scale of the criminal operation, protected the Australian community from harm.

“While many air mail or air cargo detections by the Australian Border Force might contain a relatively small amount of illicit substances – anywhere from five grams to several kilograms – combined, they equate to millions of individual street deals that cause significant community harm,” he said.

“Illicit drug use not only affects users and their families, it fuels associated crime, road crashes, places a significant burden on the health system and negatively impacts the economy. 

“Across Australia, 27 people on average were admitted to hospital every day in 2021-22 for methamphetamine-related issues. In the same period, there were more than 1300 cocaine-related hospitalisations – more than three a day on average.*

“At a time when people are worried about the cost of living, there are drug traffickers who have extra cash to spend.

“We know organised crime groups use the mail and parcel post system to import illicit drugs in combination with their other supply chains, and we actively target it.

 “The AFP is working with Australian Border Force (ABF), Western Australia Police Force and other partners to ensure people do not profit from exploiting the community through the illicit drug trade.

“Potential penalties for drug offences include 25 years or life imprisonment, which shows how seriously the government and the community regard these crimes.

“Every detection and seizure of illicit drugs, no matter the size or scale, protects our community from further drug-related harm.”

The AFP also uses Proceeds of Crime Laws to target drug traffickers and ensure that when they’re released from prison, they cannot enjoy their illegal wealth.

In February 2024, a convicted Perth drug trafficker serving a 14 year prison sentence consented to the forfeiture of $407,780 and an Audi S3 to the Commonwealth as proceeds of crime, as a result of an AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce investigation.

ABF Acting Commander Vesna Gavranich said regardless of the size of the illicit drug consignment or the method criminals used to conceal them, ABF officers were highly skilled at their detection.

“ABF officers at the Australian border are our first line of defence against criminals who seek profits at the expense of our community’s safety,” Acting Commander Gavranich said.

“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure criminals like these are prosecuted to the fullest extent, at every opportunity.”

*Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report

/Public Release. View in full here.