A Tongan man is now facing up to life in prison in Australia after he was arrested by Australian Federal Police (AFP) for drug trafficking on Thursday, 7 March.
AFP arrested ‘Iunisitani Toluta’u, 32, with another man and have seized approximately 38 kilograms of methamphetamine trafficked through Sydney airport.
Both men were scheduled to appear before Sydney Central Local Court on Thursday to face charges relating to their alleged involvement in this criminal enterprise.
Toluta’u of Campsie was an employee of an airport service provider – allegedly used his access to secure areas at Sydney Airport to offload two rucksacks from the luggage hold of an incoming flight from Canada on Wednesday, 6 March 2019.
The bags were later found to contain approximately 38 kilograms of a substance that presumptively tested positive to methamphetamine. Further forensic testing will determine the exact weight and purity of the substance.
It will be alleged the Campsie man transferred the bags containing methamphetamine through the international terminal to the domestic terminal, where he arranged for them to be placed on a baggage carousel.
The bags were then collected by a 26-year-old man from Travancore, Melbourne, who had arrived on a flight from Melbourne yesterday morning. This man was arrested as he attempted to leave the domestic terminal after collecting the bags.
AFP acting Commander Nathan Barron, a/State Manager NSW, said the AFP is committed to investigating those seeking to corruptly benefit from their access to the aviation security environment.
“Yesterday’s arrests include a man who has abused the trusted access he has to ensure the smooth operation of Sydney’s international airport, and instead sought to exploit it for the greed of all those involved,” acting Commander Barron said.
“The AFP is committed to upholding the principles of trust and integrity among those working in the airport environment, and in disrupting criminal syndicates who seeking to peddle dangerous drugs in the community.
“This investigation is a fantastic example of how intelligence-led, proactive policing can damage the activities of organised crime groups.”
The AFP will continue investigations in concert with the Australian Border Force (ABF) and overseas partner agencies to identify others involved, and further arrests have not been ruled out.
The Campsie man was charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The Travancore man was charged with one count of possessing a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to subsection 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.