Duped into being drug mules

Winning a travel prize can seem like a gift from the gods, but if there’s an ulterior motive at play, you could find yourself with a very long jail sentence.

After winning a trip to Canada, an Australian couple were understandably looking forward to their all-expenses paid trip, which included accommodation and new luggage. The 64-year-old woman had been searching for a holiday online and had entered a competition. When contacted the couple couldn’t believe their luck and everything seemed above-board and all-in-order. They made their trip to North America and after spending a week in Canada, became suspicious of their bags and reported themselves to customs.

The couple, who were due to be met on arrival, are believed to have had their bags switched during their trip, and were carrying $6.91 million worth of crystal methamphetamine. A 38-year-old Canadian man was arrested at Perth airport and a search of a car and room in Perth revealed documents relating to the con, similar bags to the ones used to carry the drugs and about $15,000 in cash. The man has subsequently been charged with drug trafficking offences.

Police commander at Perth airport, David Bachi, said the alleged scam was one of the most elaborate federal officers had ever encountered. “The organisers of this scam went to great lengths to provide a façade of legitimacy. Thankfully the travellers contacted customs and didn’t dismiss their concerns, allowing us to make an arrest,” he said.

The woman at the centre of the scam, who only wants to be known as Sue, said, “Be very careful if you win anything. I could have ended up in jail for 25 years, and they could have ruined my life. So be very wary, be very careful and check everything out.”

Read more at TheGuardian.com