X-RAY VISION GETS JUMP ON DRUG DEALERS
telligence on global drug trends are all used as flags to identify suspicious packages.
But with 200 million items of international mail flowing into the city each year, the ABF has conceded it has resources to inspect only about 30 per cent of the packages.
Criminal lawyers say it’s the perfect set-up for both dealers and buyers.
Finding the source of the drugs is almost impossible because transactions are carried out over the “dark web” – an encrypted area of the internet notoriously hard to trace. ABF officers may intercept the mail, but prosecuting buyers is almost impossible as they can simply deny they were behind the order.
One new trend identified by police involves buyers deliberately using the addresses of strangers. They then wait for the mail to arrive and grab it from the letterbox before the unsuspecting resident even knows what has happened.
ABF acting Assistant Commissioner Tim Fitzgerald yesterday said the anonymity of the dark web might seem convenient, but it also made it incredibly dangerous.
He said there were recent cases of the highly lethal drug fentanyl being sent by post to Australian users who thought they had ordered cocaine.
“The dark net will just send them whatever substance, and in a number of instances it’s deadly substances like fentanyl and carfentanil,” Mr Fitzgerald WITH callous drug dealers using everything from children’s lollies to car parts to hide their deals, Australian Border Force agents have to be eagleeyed at all times.
News Corporation was at the Sydney International Mail Gateway in Granville last week to watch the officers in action and saw ecstasy and other potent narcotics plucked from seemingly innocent packages bound for addresses across the city.
One agent sensed something wasn’t right at the western Sydney facility when she came across what purported to be a simple tractor valve from Africa.
She painstakingly disassembled the part over more than an hour, a job made even more difficult than usual as all the bolts had been covered in said. “These are deadly products, they’re killing hundreds of people a day across the US and Europe. The smallest contact with this sort of product can be deadly.”
Fentanyl and its derivatives, including carfentanil, are opioids up to 10,000 times stronger than morphine.
Those ordering drugs on the dark net often use cryptocurrencies or prepaid credit silicon. But once Marie cracked it open she found what she was looking for – a tennis ball-sized lump of amphetamines, a key ingredient in the drug ice.
Officers rotate off C-ray machines every 90 minutes to cards, leaving no financial record of the purchase. It is estimated there are more than 6000 dark net drug transactions by Australians every month.
Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia principal Jimmy Singh said prosecution was difficult for police. And even if they can make charges stick, they’re usually minor.
“If they can’t prove you had knowledge the parcel had an avoid fatigue and are retrained every 12 months in the best detection methods.
Country of origin, the way mail is addressed, and intelligence on global drug trends are all used as flags to identify suspicious packages in the illicit drug in it, then you can’t be found guilty,” he said. “(And) there could be multiple people living at the house. They’d have to investigate the computers at that address … and that would require search warrants.”
In Western Australia, police were recently left to mop up after a major drug overdose when nine backpackers snorted a white powder mysteriously posted to their address. 200 million pieces of international mail arriving each year.
“Most people look at this and say ‘it’s a needle in a haystack’ but with the right understanding of which countries are high risk and the high priorities to look at, you can They assumed the drug was cocaine, but it turned out to be motion sickness drug hyoscine.
“You can’t move your legs. You can’t move nothing,” a woman who took the drug said after being treated in hospital.
Macquarie University dark net expert Dr James Martin said most mail-order drug deals were successful because overseas dealers were sophisticated in the approach. see almost anything on an X-ray with that knowledge,” ABF international mail inspector Neil Singh said.
“It’s up to us to stop (the drugs) here because we don’t want it spreading through the community.”
“For instance, they’ll clean an envelope with bleach in one room after they packed them in another room,” he said.
Dr Martin also said buying drugs online and through the post eliminated the risk of street dealing.
“There is no potential for violence between buyers and sellers or between sellers,” he said. “And the substances tend to be less adulterated.”