Eight charged in drug mule sting

By Ewen McRae

Two people were arrested in Sunshine North as part of a major drug operation which allegedly involved airline cabin crew being used as drug mules.

Eight people in total were arrested across Melbourne in the past fortnight as part of a five month operation focusing on the importation and trafficking of more than $20 million of illicit drugs..

A 26-year-old man and a 30-year-old man were arrested in Sunshine North on January 8 and charged with a range of drug trafficking offences.

A 38-year-old woman was arrested in Tullamarine and charged with importing a border controlled drug.

Arrests were also made in Southbank, Richmond, Abbotsford and the CBD.

Police say an international drug syndicate was using cabin crew to import heroin from Malaysia

The alleged offenders are linked to the trafficking of at least 6 kilograms of high-grade heroin and 8 kilograms of methamphetamine during the five-month operation.

Police seized 8 kilograms of methamphetamine with a street value of $6.4 million, about 500 grams  of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, a Porsche Macan and a Mini Cooper and a significant quantity of cash as part of the operation.

Crime Command Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh said the successful outcome of this operation sends a strong message that police remain focused on disrupting those criminal groups bringing drugs into the Victorian community.

“This was a well organised syndicate we know had operated across Australia undetected for many years,” she said.

“To be in a position to make these arrests and dismantle this group is a significant win for both police and the Victorian community.

“The amount of heroin alone involved in this investigation amounts to almost fifty thousand hits in real terms.

“We know the harm that drugs bring – not just the physical and health impacts on users, but the negative flow-on effects to the broader community such as property crime, assaults and drug driving.”

Australian Border Force Regional Commander Victoria, Craig Palmer, said the arrests highlight the effectiveness of Australia’s multi-layered, multi-agency approach to targeting illicit drug imports.

“Airline staff are not above the law. They are subject to intervention at the border like everyone else and face significant penalties if they are found to be using their positions to attempt to circumvent our border controls,” Commander Palmer said.

All eight people have appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court. Six were remanded to appear again on May 15.

The 30-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman were bailed to appear again at Melbourne Magistrates Court on the same day.