A 71-year-old US national has been charged with attempting to import approximately 700 grams of cocaine into Australia hidden in children’s books.

The man was selected for a baggage examination by the Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at the Melbourne International Airport after arriving on a flight from Dubai on Monday 11 December.

ABF officers located two heavy children’s books inside the man’s bag that revealed anomalies after they were x-rayed. ABF officers drilled into one of the books and discovered a white-powder substance, which returned a positive indication for cocaine.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers attended and arrested the man, charging him with:

  • one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to subsection 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • one count of possessing a commercial quantity of a controlled border drug, namely cocaine, contrary to subsection 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

The man appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court where he was formally remanded in custody and scheduled to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court on 5 March 2018.

Source: Commonwealth of Australia, represented by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.