X-RAY VI­SION GETS JUMP ON DRUG DEAL­ERS

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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.”

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