Australian Woman Charged for Fentanyl Importation

According to a press release published jointly by the Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police, a Brisbane woman appeared in Brisbane Magistrate’s Court on April 13 for drug trafficking and importation related offenses. Late last year, the press release revealed, the Australian Border Force (ABF) intercepted an MDMA package that someone in the United Kingdom had shipped to the 32-year-old suspected darknet drug buyer. Evidence gathered later allegedly revealed that the woman had used bitcoin to purchase a number of substances from vendors on one or more darknet markets.

After the ABF seized a package of MDMA headed for the woman in December 2017, they seemingly left the case alone for a period of time. If not for what happened next, they may not have pursued the case at all; they announced that the first packaged contained only a “small amount of MDMA.” Some countries, such as the Netherlands, have a somewhat lenient policy regarding small quantities of drugs ordered from the darknet. In the most recent operation by Dutch police, they knocked on hundreds of doors in an attempt to contact darknet drug buyers they had identified during the time they operated Hansa Market. Instead of making arrests, the police only warned the buyers not to purchase drugs online.

The Dutch police made a single arrest—the arrested Hansa Market customer had allegedly purchased more than what officials considered a “personal use” amount. The Brisbane woman had likely ordered a personal amount of MDMA. Whether or not that would have slipped under the radar, we will never know. She ordered another package. In January 2018, ABF seized a package of fentanyl headed towards the same woman. The package had also been shipped from the United Kingdom.

ABF officials notified the Australian Federal Police (AFP) of their findings. The United States treats fentanyl cases with a high priority. DeepDotWeb covers the arrest of a darknet fentanyl vendor almost every week. Sometimes the vendor sold “oxycodone” pressed with fentanyl, making them a higher priority target, but often the vendor simply sold fentanyl. In this case, the ABF pushed the investigation over to the AFP not long after intercepting a fentanyl package. This time, though, the press release left out the “small amount” description. We do not know how much fentanyl the woman had imported.

Roughly one month after the ABF sent the case to the AFP, the AFP executed search warrants at the woman’s home in Brisbane, Australia. The AFP discovered—assuming they wanted to find drugs—exactly what they had hoped to find. They found and seized more MDMA, oxycodone pills, DMT powder, and LSD tabs. All in unknown amounts and quantities. They have charged her with two counts of importing border controlled drugs at a marketable quantity. That charge applies to the two seized packages. Another four count of importing border controlled drugs (less serious than marketable quantity importation). And nine counts of violations of the Drugs Misuse Act.