A 21-year-old Chinese national, Mr Jie Wang has been sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for the attempted importation of two kilograms of pseudoephedrine into Victoria.
In July 2011, Customs and Border Protection officers at Melbourne Airport intercepted an air cargo consignment from Hong Kong consisting of two boxes labelled as ‘heaters’. Each box contained a kitchen-style water urn.
Further examination by the officers revealed 6.4 kilograms of pink and yellow granules, thought to be ContacNT, concealed inside the water urns.
ContacNT is commonly sold in China as a cold and flu remedy however it is illegal to import it into Australia because it contains a high level of pseudoephedrine which is a precursor used to produce illicit drugs.
Mr Wang was arrested by Customs and Border Protection officers after he collected the parcel.
Mr Wang will be deported to China when he is released from prison.
Customs and Border Protection National Manager Investigations, Kingsley Woodford-Smith said Customs and Border Protection have noticed a trend in the way packages containing ContactNT are delivered, where young international students are approached by criminals to collect parcels on their behalf in return for payment.
“This sentencing serves as a strong warning to individuals that whether or not you know what is inside a parcel you are collecting, you are ultimately responsible for the parcel and its contents. If you are found to be in possession of illicit drugs or related substances, you will face the full consequences of the law,” Mr Woodford-Smith said.
“Customs and Border Protection are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to dismantle organised crime syndicates and we encourage members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour to Customs Watch on 1800 06 1800.”
Individuals convicted of the importation of a marketable amount of pseudoephedrine face a fine of up to $330,000 or 15 years in prison, or both.