Monday, October 19, 2015 5:35 am
The Nigerian caught in Australia, in an undercover sting that uncovered roughly $10 million worth of methamphetamine hidden inside a Chinese fish statue has been identified.
He is Jackson Igwebuike, a former University of Benin graduate. The 32 year-old Nigerian was charged to a Canberra court on Monday. Reports by Sydney Morning Herald said he made no attempt for release on bail and entered no plea. His case has been adjourned.
Suspicion centred on Igwebuike, registered as a student of University of Canberra, after Australian Border Force officers intercepted a package containing three 20 kilogram statues arriving in Australia from China on October 8.
One of the statues allegedly contained 10 kilograms of the drug ice.
Officers replaced the illicit substance and sent the package on to Kaleen, where it was allegedly picked up by Igwebuike and taken to a second address in the same suburb.
ACT police later arrested Igwebuike as he attempted to board a bus at the Jolimont Centre on Northbourne Avenue.
He was allegedly planning to travel to Sydney, and had packages in his possession that police say were removed from the statue.
Police raided the second address in Kaleen and allege they found similar packaging and statues.
Igwebuike, police say, had been in Australia on a student visa since July.
He appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court for the first time on Monday, where he was charged with a single count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug.
Igwebuike did not apply for bail, and Magistrate Peter Morrison adjourned the case to a later date.
He faces life behind bars if convicted.
ACT Policing believe the alleged drug importation was part of an organised crime syndicate with national and international links.
ACT Policing Drugs and Organised Crime team leader Detective Sergeant Bill Freeman said on Sunday that the seizure was significant for the territory.
“On the national scale, it’s not as big but definitely for the ACT that would break down to quite a significant amount of drugs taken off the streets,” he said.