WA men jailed for roles in failed meth import

Two West Australian men have been jailed for attempting to possess 484g of methamphetamine imported into Australia hidden inside vehicle parts.

A Belmont man, 36, was sentenced by the Perth District Court today (6 February, 2024) to three years’ imprisonment. He will be released after 18 months on a good behaviour order with a $5000 surety.

It comes after his accomplice, 35, from Midland, was sentenced by the Perth District Court in May 2022 to six years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of four years.

Both men had pleaded guilty to attempting to possess a marketable quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to sections 11.1(1) and 307.6(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

An investigation – codenamed Operation Mannum – was launched by the AFP after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in NSW detected methamphetamine concealed inside a package containing vehicle parts sent from Malawi, Africa in February 2021.

The AFP replaced the illicit drugs with a harmless substance before the younger man collected the package and travelled to a unit in Belmont, WA where the older man resided.

Police watched the men make three trips to a hardware store to purchase tools to cut open the parts and access the drugs they expected to find.

The men were arrested as they left the unit while carrying the substituted packages of powder.

AFP Sergeant Josh Gilmour said methamphetamine was an extremely addictive drug which caused significant financial, social and psychological harm to users and those around them.

“These criminals seek to profit off the misery of others, with no thought given to the pain these drugs unleash on Australian families,” he said.

“Across Australia, 27 people on average were admitted to hospital every day in 2021-22 for methamphetamine-related issues*. That has an impact on the health system that can negatively affect the entire community.

“The AFP is committed to working with our partners to disrupt those involved in the importation of illegal drugs and stop those harmful substances from reaching Australian communities.”

ABF Superintendent Asha Patwardhan said officers often witnessed criminals go to great lengths to conceal illicit drugs in consignments delivered across Australia’s border.

“Just in the last few weeks we have seen attempts to conceal illicit drugs in items such as window frames, camp stretchers, luxury buses and in this case, vehicle parts,” Supt Patwardhan said.

“We use a combination of intelligence gathering, technology, and officer intuition to stop these attempts in their tracks regardless of how creative they think they are being, and these two men are now paying the price.”

*Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report

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