Drug Importation

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Drug Importation

Bringing prohibited drugs into Australia is a federal offence. Even if the quantities of drugs found are relatively small, if you are charged with trying to import drugs, the matter is usually dealt with in the supreme court.According to the Criminal Code Act 1995, it is an offence to import or export a border controlled drug or plant, and it is also an offence to possess a drug or plant which has been illegally imported. Drug importation charges are divided into three different categories, depending on the amount imported. Charges will vary depending on whether you are accused of importing any quantity, importing a marketable quantity, or importing a commercial quantity of drugs.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you want to defend yourself against drug importation charges, you will need to plead not guilty and the matter will proceed to a defended hearing. As drug importation is a Commonwealth offence, you will generally be heard in front of a judge and jury.



For a charge of drug importation to be upheld, the prosecution needs to show that all the elements of the offence were present. If there is any doubt over one or more of the factors required, you will likely be found not guilty. Some of the defences to a drug importation charge include genuine mistake, lack of intent, and any uncertainty as to the identity of the person allegedly importing the drugs.


Pleading Guilty

Pleading guilty to charges of drug importation may help the judge to look on you more favourably, and give you a more lenient sentence than they otherwise would. As this offence comes with severe penalties, pleading guilty may result in you getting a substantial reduction in certain circumstances.



If you are found guilty of drug importation, the judge will take a number of factors into consideration when deciding what penalty to give you. These include the amount and type of drug, whether you have a previous history of drug offences, and any other mitigating circumstances. The maximum penalties for the different drug importation charges are:
– Less than a marketable quantity – $220,000 fine and/or 10 years’ imprisonment.
– Marketable quantity – $550,000 fine and/or 25 years’ imprisonment.
– Commercial quantity – $825,000 fine and/or life imprisonment.[/quotes]


Drug importation is taken seriously by the supreme court. If you are facing charges of drug importation, it’s important to find a lawyer with the experience and track record of success to deal with your case and ensure the best possible outcome.

Why Sydney Drug Lawyers?

Drug importation is a serious criminal offence which demands the insight and knowledge of a highly experienced criminal lawyer.

At Sydney Drug Lawyers, we specialise in drug law. Our knowledge and experience in this area gives us a leading advantage when it comes to obtaining outstanding results for our clients. In fact, we won Australia’s largest heroin importation case involving $600m of heroin – in which our client was found ‘not guilty.’<br.
So don’t take a gamble with your freedom – get the drug law experts on your side today. Call us now on (02) 9264 5778 and let us help you win your importation case.


Recent Drug Importation Cases

Our three clients are all Indonesian nationals who were crew members aboard a ship headed for Australia. The ship’s cargo-hold was altered to increase its capacity, containing a speed boat and dozens of ‘Prada’ bags filled with a total of over 600 kilograms of heroin. The ship anchored approximately two kilometres from Australian shores, and the speedboat was ferried back and forth unloading the heroin-filled bags onto the mainland. Unknown to the ship’s captain and crew, Australian authorities had been monitoring the operation and ultimately arrested all on board the ship. The captain and officers were all convicted at trial. They were represented by other lawyers. Six crew members faced a separate trial, with our team representing three of the men in Downing Centre District Court. We advised our clients not to give evidence after the close of the prosecution case at trial, as the state of the evidence was that knowledge or recklessness had not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. They were ultimately found ‘not guilty’ of all charges. The remaining three crew members - represented by other lawyers - each testified in court. They were questioned at length and ultimately found guilty. In our view, it was a significant strategic error to have exposed the men to cross-examination, given the weaknesses in the evidence at the close of the prosecution case.
Our client is a 26 year old Columbian national who, before his arrest, was in Australia on a student visa. He is charged with importing 63 kilograms of methamphetamine from Mexico and Columbia into Australia, in contravention of section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act. The offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The shipment was detected through telephone intercepts and physical surveillance, and the drugs were intercepted by the AFP in Sydney and replaced with an innocuous substance that was found in the boot of a car in Burwood. It is alleged that our client was involved in the importation and that the case against him is strong. The Bail Act 2013 requires the court to consider a range of factors when deciding to release a person from custody. Those factors include: the seriousness of the charge, the strength of the prosecution case, the person’s links to the community, the risk of not turning up to court, the risk of reoffending, the time they would spend in prison if not granted bail and the need to be free to prepare for their case. Our client was in a difficult position due to the seriousness and alleged strength of the case, his minimal links to the community and the consequent risk of failing to attend court. However, our defence team prepared detailed written submissions to the court focusing upon (1) prosecution delays in serving evidence, (2) the fact that he would be spending a significant amount of time behind bars awaiting trial, and (3) our need to have him free to assist in the preparation of his defence. The prosecution strongly opposed bail, and prepared it’s own written submissions. However, the Magistrate in Central Local Court ultimately acceded to our request and granted conditional bail to our client. The next step will be for our experienced team to use our vast specialised experience in commercial drug cases to secure him the optimal outcome.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® obtained bail in Central Local Court for a 26 year old man charged with having 4.75kg of imported Cocaine, which is an offence carrying a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a 'presumption against bail'.
Our drug law specialists recently represented a 26-year-old Columbian man who was alleged to have imported 63 kilograms of methamphetamine into Australia from South America.

He was charged with commercial drug importation under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

Despite a strong prosecution case and the seriousness of the charges, our experienced drug lawyers were able to persuade the magistrate to grant our client bail.

This means that our client is able to remain at liberty in the community until his matter is heard in court.

We were able to achieve this desirable outcome thanks to the efforts of our dedicated drug law experts, who spent a considerable amount of time preparing written submissions to the court which emphasised factors such as delays with the prosecution serving evidence, the length of time that our client would spend in prison before his trial, and his need to be free to assist in preparing his case.

This fantastic result means that our lawyers can now work with our clients to secure the best possible outcome in his case.

There have been significant amendments to the Bail Act in recent times, and it certainly pays to have a lawyer on your side who is familiar with these changes.

Our senior lawyers regularly prepare bail applications in the Local, District and Supreme courts and have an expert understanding of bail laws.

Our expert knowledge and experience is reflected in our ability to obtain bail for our clients in even the most serious drug cases, such as this one.
Our 26 year old client was charged with possessing 4.75kg of imported cocaine.

The large amount of this drug attracts extremely heavy penalties, including life imprisonment.

Our client also had a prior conviction for drug supply in the USA and was not an Australian citizen, nor did he have links to the Australian community.

Despite these unfavourable circumstances, the specialist defence team from Sydney Drug Lawyers was able to get our client bail.

This was a fantastic result given the seriousness of the charges and shows that it pays to have the experts on your side.


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