Man charged over alleged heroin importation in paint brushes

A Nigerian national is scheduled to face Melbourne Magistrates Court today (24 May, 2024) charged over the alleged importation of nearly 9kg of heroin concealed in paint brushes.

The AFP began an investigation in February 2024 after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at the Melbourne Cargo Examination Facility (CEF) detected anomalies in a consignment of paint roller brushes mailed from Vietnam.

Four boxes in the consignment registered anomalies and further investigation revealed 8.8kg of heroin concealed in the brushes.

The AFP seized the boxes and removed the heroin before AFP Forensics members reconstructed the brushes and boxes and returned them to the CEF.

The consignment was later delivered to a property in St Albans, where AFP officers allegedly observed the Nigerian man accept the package.

AFP officers arrested the man, 26, after executing a warrant at the house and locating him a short distance away, after they observed him running through a nearby school oval.

The man was charged with:

  • Importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled substance, namely heroin, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • Attempting to possess a commercial quantityof an unlawfully imported border-controlled drug, namely heroin, contrary to section 307.5 by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

AFP Detective acting Superintendent Rick Briggs said AFP worked hand-in-glove with ABF to ensure the safety of the Australian community.

“The negative impact that illicit drugs have on the Australian community cannot be overstated and this amount of heroin would have had severe consequences had it reached our streets,” D/a/Supt Briggs said.

“Our message remains clear – to those who seek to inflict harm on Australians, we will find you and you will be brought before the court where you could face life imprisonment.”

ABF Superintendent Dan Peters said Border Force officers were highly skilled and able to rapidly identify potentially suspicious consignments shipped in sea cargo.

“Our officers at the CEF expertly examine anything which appears out of the ordinary, and our sophisticated detection processes and technologies can then pinpoint any abnormalities which could be a possible concealment,” Superintendent Peters said.

“Rest assured, ABF officers work day-in, day-out to protect our nation’s border, stopping dangerous substances such as heroin from entering Australia.”

/Public Release. View in full here.