Imported drugs hidden among fruit

CUSTOMS officers have discovered almost 20kg of drugs hidden among fruit, vegetables and tea during a busy week at Sydney Airport.

Two Vietnamese travellers and an Australian were caught with heroin and ephedrine, which can be used as a precursor to manufacturing the drug known as ice.

Details released at the weekend revealed Customs allegedly found up to 12kg of white powder, which tested positive to ephedrine, among an Australian woman's undeclared food items on February 16.

The undeclared items included seasoning, pancake flower, ginseng tea, mountain tea and Korean breadcrumbs.

Four days later Customs allegedly discovered 4.5kg of ephedrine concealed in a traveller's food, including avocado extract.

Customs officers also allegedly found 3kg of heroin hidden in the side of cardboard boxes a Vietnamese man was travelling with.

The maximum penalty for importing precursors such as ephedrine is up to 15 years in jail or a $510,000 fine.

For importing heroin, importers risk life in prison and/or an $850,000 fine.

Topics:  customs drugs heroin smuggling

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