A senior flight attendant has been convicted of importing heroin as part of an alleged organised criminal syndicate that repeatedly smuggled the drug into Australia on commercial flights that he crewed.
The 51-year-old Malaysian national was convicted and sentenced to five years' and eight months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of two years and 10 months, on 17 December 2021.
The man was arrested at Sydney International Airport in January 2019 and charged with importing a commercial quantity of high grade heroin, by members of the Victorian Joint Organised Taskforce (JOCTF) as part of a multi-agency law enforcement operation code-named Operation Sunrise.
He had initially entered a plea of not guilty and was scheduled for a 10 day trial to commence last month, however he changed to a guilty plea on 30 November 2021.
He joins a string of members of the criminal syndicate already serving terms of imprisonment for importing large quantities of heroin into Australia, with an estimated value of $6 million.
This includes the self-described 'queen' of the syndicate, a 49-year-old Richmond woman who is serving a 18 year prison sentence with a 13 year non-parole period after her drug conviction in November 2020.
The JOCTF is comprised of Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), Victoria Police (VICPOL) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) – launched enquiries into the syndicate in December 2018 as part of a wider investigation into the alleged criminal syndicate.
The ABF, working with its law enforcement partners, is committed to protecting the community from the serious harm caused by the importation and trafficking in drugs.
Note to media:
Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.
· For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
· Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at www.counsellingonline.org.au
· For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to www.turningpoing.org.au
Media contact: Australian Border Force (02) 6264 2211