One to Watch – ABF officers found cocaine in an alternator

Two Sydney men are due to face the Parramatta Local Court today on drugs charges following a joint-agency investigation into the importation of about 11.3 kilograms of cocaine inside an alternator from Chile.

The cocaine was discovered on 11 September 2020, after a shipping container arrived in Port Botany from Chile the previous day. Australian Border Force (ABF) officers conducted an examination of the alternator within the container and detected anomalies within it.

ABF officers found a component of the alternator was made from fibreglass to look like metal. Further examination of the compartment identified 10 packages wrapped in silver tape.

An examination of the packages revealed a white powder inside which tested positive to cocaine.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) began an investigation into the matter. Investigators identified two properties suspected of being linked to the importation. Search warrants were executed on these two premises in the Sydney suburbs of Sylvania Waters and North Rocks on 2 October 2020.

Further investigations led to search warrants being executed yesterday (9 October 2020) in Dundas Valley and Eastwood with the assistance of the AFP’s National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) and NSW Police Strike Force Raptor. Two men were subsequently arrested.

A 37-year-old Dundas Valley man was arrested and charged with:

  • Importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1, of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • Failing to comply with a section 3LA order, contrary to section 3LA(6) of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

A 51-year-old Eastwood man, a Chilean national, was arrested and charged with:

  • One count import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count attempt to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1, of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The men face a potential maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

AFP Commander Investigations, Eastern Command, Kirsty Schofield said the result highlighted the successful collaboration between the AFP and ABF to prevent illicit drugs entering the community.

“We are working to stay one step ahead of those who look to profit from drugs and will take advantage of any opportunity to disrupt the supply chain and arrest those involved,” Commander Schofield said.