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'Dangerous' discovery in 18-year-old's suitcase at Australian airport triggers police warning

The amount of ketamine seized at Australian borders has more than doubled in the last year.

Police have revealed the quantity of illegally imported ketamine seized at Australian borders has more than doubled in the last year, with fears criminals are going to extreme lengths to bring the drug into the country.

The latest major discovery came on Friday when an 18-year-old male was stopped at Sydney Airport before officers allegedly found 20kg of ketamine hidden inside his suitcases.

He was later charged the same day with importing commercial quantities of border controlled drugs and has been refused bail until his next court appearance in May.

The teen's suitcase was seized at Sydney Airport. Source: AFP
The teen's suitcase was seized at Sydney Airport. Source: AFP

It follows two major incidents in 2023 where a combined 129kg of ketamine was seized after it was allegedly brought into the country by sea cargo. A combined six men have been charged over the two separate incidents.

Criminals importing ketamine 'think they're clever'

AFP Acting Commander Kristy Scott said police were committed to keeping the ketamine off the streets of Australia.

“Ketamine is a dangerous and illicit sedative. Its dissociative effects block sensory brain signals and can cause memory loss, feelings of being detached from one's body and prevent their ability to perceive danger," she said.

“Drug addiction has a profound impact on individuals and the wider community. The AFP, together with our state, territory and Commonwealth law enforcement partners, is committed to preventing the significant harm caused to our community as a result of these illicit drug imports."

Packages of ketamine allegedly discovered inside the 18-year-old's suitcase. Source: AFP
Packages of ketamine allegedly discovered inside the 18-year-old's suitcase. Source: AFP

Acting Commander Scott issued a warning to those thinking of bringing the drug into the country, stressing those responsible will be caught.

“We're reminding criminals that we not only seizing the drugs but arresting alleged offenders who are connected to the imports. We will continue to work to target your illicit operations, identify you and bring you to justice."

ABF Assistant Commissioner James Watson reminded criminals that while they "might think they're being clever" by the ways they're bringing the drug into the country, authorities are well-equipped to sniff out illegal activity.

For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.

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