25 Nov 2013

Drug rings use teens to smuggle meth from China

5:58 pm on 25 November 2013

Two Sydney high school students are facing possible charges after being paid by an international crime syndicate to accept overseas parcels containing drugs.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service is contacting parents and school principals to warn of the scheme, amid revelations students have been paid to accept packages from China.

Students are contacted through social media websites or at their school and paid to have a parcel with drugs concealed inside items sent to their home address.

Two students, aged 15 and 16, are facing possible charges and others are being interviewed, with both public and private school pupils being targeted.

Australian Customs regional director for New South Wales Tim Fitzgerald says the parcels' contents appear innocuous at first.

"They've got general goods inside them, in some instances like motorbike helmets, LED lights and shoes, and within those goods are concealed precursors such as ephedrine," he says.

Mr Fitzgerald has compared those involved with the drug syndicate to vultures.

"This does take it to a new low. They are involving students that are innocent," he says.

"The promises that the syndicate gives these students in a lot of instances is [that] because of their age they won't be held legally responsible and that's completely incorrect.

"There are 25 years imprisonment but there's other consequences for activities such as this for kids as well. It can impact on uni applications, future jobs, even travel overseas."

Customs says one of the parcels intercepted contained four kilograms of ephedrine, enough to make about $A250,000 worth of the street drug methamphetamine.