Border Force speaking with 23-year-old man in relation to raid and allege ‘illicit substances’ had been detected in air cargo
More than 50 vials of suspected hazardous substances have been seized after an Australian Border Force raid on a Sydney property in relation to illegal goods allegedly being smuggled into the country on planes.
The ABF is speaking with a 23-year-old Australian man in relation to the substances and the property following Thursday’s raid in the southern suburb of Arncliffe.
The force alleged the search was conducted after “officers detected a range of illicit substances being imported through air cargo in Sydney”.
The raid on the apartment block on Kelsey Street began on Thursday morning and finished just after 10pm. Much of the suburban street was blocked throughout the day due to suspected hazardous materials allegedly being found.
“As part of this operation, the ABF located and seized 52 vials of suspected hazardous substances,” an ABF spokesperson said.
“The vials have been transferred to the appropriate facilities, where they will be subject to testing.
“At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that this incident poses any kind of national security risk.”
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The deputy commissioner of the ABF, Tim Fitzgerald, thanked officers for working through the challenging situation.
“Our officers have done an incredible job under extremely testing circumstances to ensure that all of the vials we have located have now been safely transferred for testing and evaluation.
“We could not have done this without the close support of our colleagues, both within the NSW emergency services and across other commonwealth agencies.
“At the forefront of our minds at all times during this operation was the safety and wellbeing of community members and all officers involved.”
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He said there was no risk to public safety.
In a statement released on Thursday evening, Fire and Rescue New South Wales said it had discovered the hazardous materials.
A spokesperson said “all appropriate safety measures are being implemented”.
“People in [the] vicinity of the location are urged to follow all directions from emergency services,” they said in a statement.
Late on Thursday evening, Fire and Rescue NSW said its “specialist crews located low-level radioactive isotopes, commonly used in several industries, at the location”.
It said the material was found “in suitable and effective containers, with no release of radiation”, and that a 10-metre exclusion zone was established around the property as firefighters with protective clothing used “special detectors”.