Friday, 8th April, 2011
By John Casey
The biggest seizure of heroin in Broken Hill's history has police baffled.
A package containing 200 grams of the narcotic - which police say has a street value approaching $100,000 - was inadvertently sent from Scotland to a Broken Hill address.
"The person who received the delivery was understandably terrified when they opened the package to discover a substance they knew nothing about," Broken Hill Police Acting Commander, Detective Inspector Mick Stoltenberg said.
"That person immediately and voluntarily surrendered the goods to Broken Hill police and subsequently Customs officials and the Australian Federal Police have been investigating," he added.
D.I. Stoltenberg said police were reluctant to reveal the identity of the Broken Hill resident and praised the actions of the individual.
"There is absolutely no suggestion this person - who is a law abiding professional - has anything to do with this matter," D.I. Stoltenberg said.
"Customs and police had no knowledge of the package and were not tracking the shipment, so without the honesty and integrity of the individual involved this significant seizure would not have taken place.
"I have no doubt that the heroin was meant to stay on the other side of the world in Scotland and it was only a mix-up in how the package was addressed that resulted in it arriving in Broken Hill," he continued.
The package was posted from Glasgow in Scotland intended for an address in the neighbouring island of Shetland some 500-kilometres north. When the item wasn't claimed in was forwarded to an address in Broken Hill, where it arrived on Thursday February 10.
The heroin, which amounted to about the same size as a cup of sugar, was contained in two plastic freezer bags which were inserted inside a flask.
Adding to the intrigue of the case is the fact that Scotland is not considered a heroin hot spot. The illegal drug is a derivative of opium and 87 per cent of the world's poppies are sown in Afghanistan.
Afghan opium kills around 100,000 people annually according to respected internet site Wikipedia.
In April 2005 a group of nine Australians were arrested while attempting to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin - valued at $4 million - from Indonesia to Australia.
D.I. Stoltenberg said small amounts of heroin considered as "personal use" have been seized in Broken Hill in the past, but this was the first discovery of a sizeable amount that would attract more serious charges relating to the supply of the illegal drug.
"The matter has now been handed to the Australian Federal Police who are liaising with their law enforcement counterparts on the other side of the world and the investigation is continuing," D.I. Stoltenberg said.