Spanish-Bolivian dual national charged over cocaine import into Melbourne Airport

A Spanish-Bolivian dual national has been charged with allegedly importing about four kilograms of cocaine on board a flight to Melbourne hidden inside their luggage.

The man, 56, faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 21 May, 2024, charged with possessing and importing a border-controlled drug, namely cocaine.

He was remanded in custody and is expected to reappear in court on 13 August, 2024.

The passenger landed at Melbourne International Airport on Monday, 20 May, 2024, after arriving from Doha, Qatar.

ABF officers examined the man’s baggage and allegedly discovered about four kilograms of a substance concealed in the lining of two suitcases. They conducted a presumptive test of the substance which allegedly returned a positive result for cocaine.

The matter was then referred to the AFP for investigation and the man was arrested in the terminal.

This amount of cocaine has an estimated street value of $1.3 million and had the potential to equate to 20,000 individual street deals.

The man was transported to AFP Melbourne where he was charged with:

  • One count of import a border-controlled drug namely cocaine, in a commercial quantity, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and

  • One count of possess a border-controlled drug, unlawfully imported, namely cocaine, in a commercial quantity, contrary to section 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Rick Briggs said the AFP worked with the ABF to protect the Australian community from the devastating impact of illicit drugs.

“No matter the quantity, the amount of harm cocaine poses to the community cannot be overstated,” Det-Act-Supt Briggs said.

“When individuals travel to Australia with drugs hidden in their possession, it should come as no surprise they will be detected and face the full consequences of the law.

“The AFP will continue to work with law enforcement partners, both in Australia and overseas, into the source of this alleged importation to target and identify organised criminal networks using couriers to profit from potentially vulnerable and drug-impacted individuals.”

ABF Acting Superintendent Anthony Haseloff said passengers who attempt to import illicit drugs should know that Border Force officers remain vigilant and are ready to stop you in your tracks.

“Our ABF officers are exceptionally skilled and have the ability to identify and question travellers who may be attempting to import dangerous substances into our country,” Act-Supt Haseloff said.

“Cocaine continues to negatively impact the Australian community, and the ABF is doing everything we can – along with our state and federal partners – to prevent this drug from making it onto our streets.”

/Public Release. View in full here.