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Suspect jailed after internet drug purchase

Image of drugs in capsule form

AUSTRAC assisted a law enforcement investigation into the importation and distribution of mephedrone (MCAT), an amphetamine-type stimulant imported from Israel.

The suspect bought MCAT (also known as ‘Miaow’ or ‘Mm-cat’) over the internet through a business-to-business trading website, blended the drug with caffeine powder and then sold it in capsules. The suspect imported approximately four kilograms of the drug and used employees from his cleaning business to convert the drug into capsule form.

AUSTRAC disseminated an intelligence assessment to law enforcement detailing that the suspect had, over a two-year period, sent a number of international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) to Israel, worth a total of AUD102,000. The IFTIs were sent via a remittance service provider.

Two suspect transaction reports (SUSTRs) were also submitted to AUSTRAC regarding the suspect’s international funds transfers, indicating that the suspect undertook numerous same-day international transfers through different branches of a remittance service provider. The transactions appeared to be structured to fall below the AUD10,000 cash reporting threshold.

Analysis of the AUSTRAC database also identified additional Australia-based entities that had sent funds to the same beneficiary in Israel. Authorities believed these transfers were also payments for the importation of MCAT.

The suspect was arrested at an Australian casino in possession of AUD24,000 worth of cash and casino chips. Authorities searched the suspect’s property and discovered an additional AUD100,000 cash.

The suspect was charged with drug importation and attempting to pervert the course of justice against the Criminal Code Act 1995 and was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

Offence

  • Drug importation

Customer

  • Individual

Industry

  • Remittance services

Channel

  • Electronic

Report type

  • IFTI
  • SUSTR

Jurisdiction

  • International – Israel

Designated service

  • Remittance services (money transfer)

Indicators

  • Multiple same-day international transfers to the same overseas beneficiary
  • Multiple international transfers paid for in structured cash amounts below the AUD10,000 cash reporting threshold
  • International funds transfers to high-risk jurisdiction
Last modified: 30/07/2015 15:36