25 October 2013, 10:46

Free getaway vacation to Canada came with surprise drug mule luggage

Free getaway vacation to Canada came with surprise drug mule luggage

An elderly couple, who had received a free vacation to Canada, unknowingly became drug mules after authorities found narcotics tucked inside the new luggage they got while on their trip. Australian Federal Police on Friday said the pair, a 72-year-old man and 64-year-old woman, told Customs officials they had some concerns about their bags when they returned to Perth International Airport on October 13.

Upon examining their bags, about 7.7 pounds of methamphetamine was found inside the lining of each piece of luggage. Police though have reason to believe their bags were switched during their stay in Canada.

"The Australian Federal Police will allege the couple were victims of an elaborate scam and were unwitting participants in the drug importation," police said in a statement.

Law enforcement officials said the scam by a bogus Canada-based tour company calling itself "AusCan Tours" apparently targeted older people, offering two tickets to Canada, seven nights' accommodation and new luggage as a prize.

"The organizers of this scam went to great lengths to provide a facade of legitimacy," Perth airport police commander David Bachi said and added, "Thankfully the travelers contacted Customs and didn't dismiss their concerns, allowing us to make the arrest."

For the time being, police have taken a 38-year-old Canadian man into custody, who was seen in the airport the very day the elderly pair returned to Australia. They have since charged him with importing a commercial-sized amount of a border-controlled substance.

Jan Hill, the Customs director at Perth airport, issued a forewarning to travelers about holding onto someone else’s luggage. "If you've been asked to carry something on behalf of another person, make the right choice and alert local authorities," Hill said and continued on, "Do not allow another person to pack your bag and do not carry luggage on behalf of another person."

Voice of Russia, AFP


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