INDEPENDENT NEWS

Australian Fed Cocaine Bust - NZer (19) Arrested

Published: Wed 11 Feb 2004 10:58 AM
Three men arrested over cocaine in children's books
Australian Federal Police (AFP) agents in Melbourne recently arrested three men in connection with the detection by Customs of just under 800 grams of cocaine imported into Australia inside children's books.
The cocaine, with an estimated potential street value of about $800,000, was discovered by Customs officers using x-ray and ion scan technology at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport.
Federal agents arrested three men in relation to the importation, one of whom allegedly had the books in his luggage when he arrived at Melbourne Airport from Auckland, New Zealand.
Five children's books were examined and deconstructed by AFP agents and were allegedly found to contain approximately 800 grams of cocaine well concealed within the book covers.
"This is yet another example of the benefits of interagency collaboration," said AFP Manager Melbourne office Federal Agent Frank Prendergast.
"The combination of technology, highly skilled officers and cooperation between our border-protection agencies has resulted in another seizure of harmful drugs and prevented them from reaching the Australian community," said Customs Regional Director in Victoria, Jenny Peachey.
A 37-year-old man from Caulfield North was charged with aid and abet under the Customs Act, a 36-year-old man from Thornbury was charged with aid and abet and attempting to obtain possession of a prohibited import (Customs Act 1901).
A 19-year-old New Zealand man was also charged with importing a prohibited import and possession of a prohibited import (Customs Act 1901). All three men are expected to appear in Melbourne Magistrate's Court today.

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