The offence of drug importation in Australia

The offence of drug importation in Australia

Drug importation Images from Australian Border Force
Drug importation Images: Australian Border Force

Australian Border Force has found 300kg of ice (methamphetamine) in a barbecue shipment abandoned at a Sydney wharf. This is an extreme example of a drug importation quantity.

Consequently, drug law enforcement agencies have set up a special strike force to investigate which crime syndicate in Sydney was expecting to take delivery of the drugs.

In this case, officers discovered more than 300kg of ice in electric barbecues and water heaters.  These left from Thailand and arrived at Port Botany on May 4.

Importation of Drugs

For a case like this, importing commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, plants or precursors is illegal under s307.1(1) and 307.11(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth). Notably this is Commonwealth legislation and enforcement is with the Australian Federal Police (AFP)  and Australian Border Force (ABF).

The drugs have to land or come within the limits of a port to for categorisation as imported. However, bringing a drug within a three mile territorial limit of Australian waters does not constitute importing the drug.

It’s punishable to bring any illegal drug into Australia. However, certain quantities carry harsher penalties.

Drug Marketable Quantity (grams) Commercial Quantity (kilograms)
Cannabis 25,000.00 100.00
Cocaine 2.0 2.0
Heroin 2.0 1.5
Methamphetamine 2.0 0.75
MDMA (Ecstasy) 0.5 0.5

Severe consequences for drug importation

In addition to any fines, important of drugs carries severe custodial penalties. For example, these are the maximum penalties:

  • Commercial quantity – life imprisonment
  • Marketable quantity – 25 years
  • Lesser quantities, if importation is with intent to sell – 10 years
  • Lesser quantities, if importation is for personal use – 2 years

Quantity and purity of drugs

In New South Wales, and other states, the weight of the amount of drug includes the entirety of the substance. However, this is whether or not it was cut with another substance, legal or illegal. It is all taken to be the drug it’s purported to be.

In comparison, under Commonwealth legislation, the relevant quantity refers to the pure weight of the narcotic (R v King (1978) 24 ALR 346).

In conclusion, O’Brien Criminal Solicitors have lawyers specialising in drug offences. We have extensive experience in getting the best result for our clients.

If you’re facing charges under the Criminal Code for Drug Importation, contact O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors for a free consultation. 

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