Huge drugs haul en route to SA seized in Bali
A HUGE shipment of 600,000 cold relief tablets, destined for criminal gangs in Australia to use for drug manufacture, has been thwarted in Bali.
The cold-relief tablets, using the trade name Codana, were shipped from South Korea to an address in South Australia and were being shipped through Indonesia when they were stopped.
The tablets contain pseudoephedrine, a precursor for making methamphetamine and MDMA and officials say there were for use by criminal gangs in Australia to manufacture drugs.
Their shipment, from overseas, is a bid to circumvent Australia's tough restrictions on the purchase of cold and flu medications containing pseudoephedrine, where identification must be shown and purchases at chemists are kept in a national database.
The drugs - 600 bottles of Codana tablets, each bottle containing 1000 tablets - were displayed at a joint Indonesian Customs and Australian Border Force media conference in Bali today.
The bottles say the medication is for "sneeze, nasal discharge and nasal obstruction".
The drugs were detected and seized in Bali in January this year and an arrest in Australia has since been made. That matter is currently before the courts.
Commander Chris Waters, the Minister-Counsellor for Immigration and Border Protection in the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, said the bust was a demonstration of the close co-operation between Australian Border Force and the Indonesian Customs.
Cdr Waters said it was difficult to buy such medication in Australia, hence the new methods being employed by crime gangs now transshipping them through different countries and then to a number of different addresses for collection by different individuals.
"Transshipping is a new route that smugglers are trying so it is good to stop it in the transshipping countries where we can," Cdr Waters said.
"We know that drugs have a profound and tragic impact on individuals, families and the broader community and as the (Indonesian Customs director-general) has said, stopping narcotics is a key priority for both Australia and Indonesia," he said.
The Director-General of Indonesian Customs, Heru Pambudi, was in Bali for today's press conference, underscoring the significance of the bust.
He said that the bust, on January 13 this year, was based on information provided by Australian Border Force that tablets containing pseudoephedrine were being smuggled from South Korea to Australia, via Bali.
The drugs, sent through courier service EMS, were declared as health food.
"The investigation that was developed by ABF related with the package from Seoul - Denpasar - Melbourne showed that it contain drugs precursor. The ABF made co-ordination with Indonesian Customs to thwarted the precursor in Bali. Following co-ordination, Ngurah Rai Customs thwarted the drugs precursor at Ngurah Rai airport," Mr Pambudi said.
He said the package consisted of six boxes, weighing 138kg.
"We find six boxes that each contained 100 bottle of precursor with the brand Codana. Each bottle contains 1000 tablets that contain Pseudoephedrine," Mr Pambudi said.
He said laboratory tests confirmed the tablets contained 60mg each of pseudoephedrine.
"We support the ABF and investigation team in Australia by giving information so that the receiver could be arrested in Australia.
"This is part of our synergy with Australia, as we have a long history of co-operation in the last 16 years.
"This synergy between Indonesia and Australia should be enhanced because drugs never know borders. There is a possibility that the drugs made in Australia could be distributed in Indonesia. That's why this attempt could protect not only Australian people, but also Indonesian people," Mr Pambudi said.