In a Media Release issued today, 25th November, 2013, the Australian Customs & Border Protection Service (“ACBPS”) issued a warning to high school students, their parents and teachers, and the community in general, to beware of accepting parcels on behalf of other people whom they don’t know or are only very casually acquainted with.
ACBPS have discovered instances of students allegedly being offered a few hundred dollars to accept a package, on behalf of another person, sent from overseas through the post and then pass the package on to the person(s) responsible for the importation.
The scheme came to light when ACBPS officers were executing search warrants on a number of premises in N.S.W. with the assistance of N.S.W. Police.
The recruiting of the “mules” may have come about through social media channels, and it is alleged the people behind the scheme may have allayed any fears the students had about doing something illegal by telling them they were under adult age so they couldn’t be charged with drug importation offences. This is not correct and the ramifications for young people caught up in such schemes are far-reaching. If they are charged and convicted, they face fines of up to AUD 850,000.00 and 25 years imprisonment. Even if not imprisoned they will still carry a criminal record and this can affect future job prospects and overseas travel (many countries will not issue entry visas to people with a criminal record).
The principals of the schools attended by the 2 students so far identified have been advised of the situation by ACBPS and Police so they can alert other students not to fall for the same scam.
It is hoped that by putting this article on our web page, more people will be aware of it and so they can warn their children, friends, family, their children’s school principals of the danger.
UPDATE: ABC News Coverage
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