Fair Work grants interim suspension to PIA

30-09-2016 –

The Fair Work Commission has granted an interim order of suspension to all protected industrial action (PIA) after an application from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

The order takes effect at 9 pm tonight (30 September) and applies to all Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection—including the Australian Border Force—who have been undertaking PIA.

All staff are expected to return to normal rostered duty from that time so business as usual operations can resume.

The suspension order will remain in effect while the Fair Work Commission considers the matter. A hearing has been scheduled for 5 October 2016. Further orders will be made at or after that time.

The decision to seek assistance from the Fair Work Commission to secure a suspension of PIA was taken today after much deliberation. This decision was not taken lightly.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Man arrested for internal importation of cocaine at Melbourne Airport

29-09-2016 –

A 52-year-old British man was arrested at Melbourne International Airport on Friday, 16 September 2016, for attempting to import approximately 280 grams of cocaine.

It will be alleged he swallowed 39 separate pellets which contained the cocaine.

The man arrived in Melbourne on a flight from Los Angeles and was selected for further examination by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.

Following an examination which revealed the presence of the pellets, the ABF referred the man to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), who transported him to hospital for further examination. The examination confirmed the man was carrying a number of pellets internally.

A total of 39 pellets containing approximately 280 grams of cocaine were recovered, and he was subsequently charged with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). He appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 21 September 2016, and was remanded to appear again on Wednesday, 14 December 2016.

ABF Regional Commander, James Watson, said ABF officers were experts at identifying a range of concealment methods.

“We have sophisticated technology which will detect those who try to smuggle drugs internally,” Commander Watson said.

“The individual has put his own life at risk through this highly dangerous method of attempting to smuggle narcotics.

“Even though the man has survived this dangerous method of importation, he now faces very serious charges which could result in penalties of up to 25 years in jail.”

AFP Commander Paul Osborne, Manager Crime Operations, said the AFP and its partners would continue to work closely to disrupt drug importation attempts.

“It is disappointing to continue to see the extent to which individuals will go to import drugs in to Australia,” Commander Osborne said.

“Not only are they putting their own lives at risk, they are endangering the lives of others with the product they are looking to sell.”

Media enquiries:

Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244
AFP Media (02) 6131 6333

Apprehension of foreign fishing vessel in Australian Waters

23-09-2016 –

In a major hit to illegal fishing in Australian waters, Maritime Border Command (MBC) within the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) have apprehended a Papua New Guinea (PNG) fishing vessel fishing illegally on Thursday 22 September 2016.

The Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Byron boarded the PNG registered fishing vessel about 2.7nm inside the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone (AEEZ), west of Thursday Island.

The vessel was initially identified by HMAS Adelaide on Monday 19 September and was seen crossing into the AEEZ by an MBC surveillance aircraft on Thursday.

Officers from ADV Cape Byron boarded the vessel and located 500 kilograms of fresh fish and about 9 tons of fish in freezer compartments.

The 29 people on board the fishing vessel were detained and will be brought to Australia for further investigation by AFMA.

Commander MBC, Rear Admiral Peter Laver praised the joint efforts of Maritime Border Command and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and said the apprehensions highlight the capability of both agencies.

“Australia’s maritime domain exceeds 10 million square kilometres, but no matter where these boats are, MBC and AFMA officers will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Australia’s waters remain free from illegal fishing,” Rear Admiral Laver said.

“We maintain continuous watch and response capability within the AEEZ to deter where possible, but intercept and apprehend illegal foreign vessels who attempt to conduct illegal activity in Australian waters.”

AFMA’s General Manager Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, agreed saying the continued joint efforts of MBC and AFMA ensures Australia’s marine resources are protected from poachers and remain healthy.

“Australia’s well managed Commonwealth fisheries are tempting for foreign fishing vessels. It is the continued cooperation between AFMA and MBC that ensures poachers will be caught,”

“Those attempting to steal from our marine environments should be on notice – they will be caught.”

This apprehension comes a day after 16 foreign fishermen from Vietnam were convicted of illegally fishing within Australian waters. Each fisherman received suspended sentences and their vessel was confiscated by AFMA and destroyed.

More information on how Australia is working to combat illegal fishing can be found at afma.gov.au.

Media enquiries: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Geelong man charged with the importation of firearm magazines

23-09-2016 –

A 30-year-old Geelong man has been charged with nine offences relating to the alleged importation and possession of prohibited items including firearm magazines, knives and a ballistic vest.

The man was arrested on 13 July, after the Australian Border Force (ABF) conducted an investigation which led to the execution of a Customs Act search warrant on the man’s Norlane residence, with the support of Victoria Police.

During the warrant activity, investigating officers found a variety of ammunition of varying calibre, a ballistic vest and knives, knuckle dusters and other weapons.

Following an initial hearing in Geelong in September, the man will appear again before the Geelong Magistrate’s Court on 23 December 2016 charged with:

  • two counts of importing prohibited imports in contravention of Section 233BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901; and
  • seven counts of possessing prohibited imports, in contravention of Section 233(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1901.

ABF Acting Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Craig Palmer, said that the ABF is committed to protecting the community from dangerous prohibited goods.

“The safety of our community is a priority for the Australian Border Force and we will continue to work with our partner agencies to ensure this safety is maintained,” Acting Commander Palmer said.

If convicted, the man faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

ABF cancels licence of company linked to undeclared cigarettes

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has cancelled the licence of a NSW company linked to the movement of 832,000 undeclared cigarettes.

The company, QSL Freight Forwarding Pty Ltd, was licensed under s77G of the Customs Act 1901 to hold goods subject to Customs control at its depot in Mascot, NSW.

It had been operating for just nine weeks before ABF officers executed search warrants on Wednesday 10 August at four Sydney residential addresses in Bass Hill, Roselands and Chipping Norton. A further two search warrants were executed at the depot and a licensed customs broker in Botany.

The warrants were in relation to an ongoing ABF investigation into the movement of cigarettes subject to Customs control without authority and without the payment of the substantial duty and GST that was due.

The ABF alleges that QSL Freight Forwarding Pty Ltd was involved in the movement of the 832,000 undeclared cigarettes, which were being held under Customs control at another licenced s77G depot, in order to deliberately defraud the revenue.

During the warrants, ABF officers served the director of QSL Freight Forwarding Pty Ltd with a Notice of Intended Cancellation and Suspension of the Customs Depot Licence pursuant to s 77V of the Customs Act 1901. This meant the depot licence was immediately suspended with full cancellation taking effect on Tuesday, 23 August 2016.

QSL Freight Forwarding Pty Ltd’s access to the Integrated Cargo System, which supports the movement and reporting of goods across the Australian border, has also been revoked.

The investigation resulted from an ABF air cargo examination team detection and a broader ABF intelligence informed operation focussed on identifying, targeting and investigating criminality within the cargo supply chain.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Man arrested for importing drugs purchased via the dark net

21-09-2016 –

A 31-year-old man from Port Neill was arrested yesterday after an Australian Border Force (ABF) and South Australia Police (SAPOL) investigation linked him to the importation and distribution of numerous border controlled drugs via the dark net.

The man was arrested after ABF and SAPOL officers executed several search warrants at residential properties in Adelaide and the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia.

During the warrants, ABF officers and SAPOL members seized 910 doses of an amphetamine type substance, 380 LSD doses and 72 capsules and 15 grams of MDMA. A number of other powders and liquids, which the ABF will allege were to be used in the manufacture of illicit drugs, were also seized.

The man has been charged with importing a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs, an offence contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cwth).

SAPOL will charge the man with 14 counts of trafficking in a controlled drug contrary to section 32 of the Controlled Substances Act.

ABF Acting Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Craig Palmer, said the arrest showed that Australia’s law enforcement authorities are working together to target illicit drug importation from dark net websites.

“We are well aware of these websites and take any attempts to import illegal border controlled drugs very seriously,” Acting Commander Palmer said.

“Working with our partner agencies, we will continue to target those people who think they can illegally purchase and import illicit goods online.”

Superintendent Andrew Thiele, Eyre and Western Local Service Area, said people should not think they are immune from police detection if they participate in criminal activities such as drug trafficking and live in a remote location. Police will continue to target those people who live in regional areas and cause harm to the community through drug dealing.

The man arrested today could face a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $900,000.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Perth man fined $60,000 for importing ‘ice’ pipes

19-09-2016 –

A 33-year-old West Australian man has been fined $60,000 in Perth Magistrates Court today after being found guilty of three counts of importing ‘ice’ pipes through the post in 2014.

Hoang Nam Nguyen was summonsed in July 2014, after investigators from the then Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) executed a search warrant at his “Cloud 9 Smoke Shop & Accessories” business premises in Perth. More than 300 ‘ice’ pipes were located and seized.

Investigators conducted the search after detecting a number of parcels sent to Nguyen from China between May and July 2014, which contained commercial quantities of ‘ice’ pipes.

Upon his arrest, Nguyen was charged with importing prohibited imports through the post, in contravention of section 233(1)(b) of the Customs Act 1901. In addition to his $60,000 fine, Nguyen was ordered to pay $36,500 in court costs and a conviction has been recorded.

Australian Border Force Acting Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Craig Palmer, said that these types of glass pipes found are prohibited as they can be used to administer methamphetamine, or ‘ice’.

He said importers of prohibited drug paraphernalia were taking significant risks which put themselves and their community in danger.

“We know that ‘ice’ is a dangerous drug that does enormous harm to our community,” Acting Commander Palmer said.

“The Australian Border Force is committed to taking the fight up to those who intend to profit from community suffering by not just stopping illicit drugs at the border, but also targeting the importation of the implements used to consume them.

“The significant fine imposed on Nguyen highlights how serious Australian authorities are about protecting our community and taking swift action against those responsible for putting our safety at risk.”

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Australian Border Force stops harmful drugs entering Sydney

Australian Border Force stops harmful drugs entering Sydney

16-09-2016 –

Australian Border Force (ABF) investigators have charged a 49-year-old Australian citizen with importing 6.7kg of ephedrine concealed in toiletries and food products.

On 12 September, ABF officers conducted an examination of the woman’s baggage after she arrived at Sydney International Airport from Vietnam. During the search, ABF officers noticed inconsistent packing of the toiletries and food products, with subsequent testing proving positive for ephedrine.

Ephedrine is used as a precursor agent in the manufacture of illegal amphetamine substances, such as ice.

The woman appeared in Central Local court on Tuesday (13 September 2016) charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled precursor contrary to section 307.11 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, which carries a maximum penalty for an individual of 25 years’ imprisonment.

ABF Acting Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Tim Pieper, said these seizures are unfortunately on the rise in Sydney, with ephedrine becoming a growing problem in the community.

“ABF officers have once again displayed their professionalism and expertise in detecting and stopping these harmful substances from crossing the border,” Acting Commander Pieper said.

“This seizure sends a clear message to potential drug importers that our officers will not only intercept drugs at our borders, we will actively pursue, arrest and seek to prosecute people facilitating the illicit drug industry, which causes serious harm to our community.”

The woman will reappear in court on 28 September 2016.

*Broadcast quality footage of the concealment is avaibale on the newsroom.

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244

Two Victorian men arrested following investigation into importation of border controlled drugs

Joint media release with the Australian Federal Police and Victorian Police

07-09-2016 –

Task Force Icarus officers with the assistance of the Warrnambool Divisional Response Unit arrested two men following a joint agency investigation into the importation of border controlled drugs through the international air mail stream.

Investigators executed a search warrant in Terang, Victoria on Tuesday 6 September and arrested a 21-year-old Terang man.

The 21-year-old was charged with three counts of importing a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.2 of the

Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and one count of importing border controlled drug, contrary to section 307.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

He was bailed to appear at the Warrnambool Magistrates Court on 28 November, 2016. The maximum penalty for these offences is 25 years imprisonment.

A 19-year-old, also from Terang, was arrested in Warrnambool and interviewed in relation to allegedly trafficking a drug of dependence. The man was released pending further enquiries.

Taskforce Icarus officers from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police, and Australian Border Force (ABF) commenced a joint agency operation in August 2016 after ABF officers identified a number of suspicious importations which led to the execution of the warrant and arrests.

Task Force Icarus is a joint agency initiative that targets those who seek to use the international mail and air cargo systems for criminal activity.

Australia’s law enforcement agencies need the community’s ongoing assistance to minimise the harm caused by drugs, and urge anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or to submit at confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.

Media enquiries

DIBP Media: (02) 6264 2244
Victoria Police Media: (03) 9247 5205
AFP Media: (02) 6131 6333

ABF seizes more than one million cigarettes

01-09-2016 –

An ABF operation has resulted in investigators charging a 26-year-old man with illegally importing more than one million cigarettes, with a potential street value of up to $1.2 million and up to $603,000 in duty evaded.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers targeted 17 pallets that arrived from Hong Kong for inspection on 15 August 2016. The boxes, labelled as porcelain tiles, contained more than one million sticks of ‘Brass’ brand cigarettes.

A container was delivered to a self-storage unit in Greenacre on 22 August. Shortly after, ABF investigators arrested the man and charged him with smuggling tobacco under section 233BABAD of the Customs Act 1901.

On 31 August 2016, ABF investigators executed warrants on several residences in Greenacre and Belmore with the assistance of NSW Police Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad officers. Following the execution of these warrants, about 100 steroid tablets were seized as well as six firearms for licensing breaches.

The 26-year-old was granted conditional bail and will face Bankstown Local Court on 7 September 2016.

ABF Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Anthony Seebach, said this operation and subsequent arrest is another clear example of the tireless work ABF officers undertake to ensure those responsible for tobacco smuggling, which denies the Commonwealth important revenue, are stopped.

“This operation reinforces our message that the ABF will actively investigate and charge people who attempt to smuggle illicit tobacco across the border,” Commander Seebach said.

“We will continue to prevent, deter, detect and disrupt those who attempt to import illicit tobacco into Australia.”

Media contact: Immigration and Border Protection (02) 6264 2244