Sydney airport customs officers caught in drug ring investigation

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 3:38am


Australia announced an overhaul of its customs service yesterday after eight people were arrested in a corruption investigation linked to an alleged drugs ring at Sydney airport.

"I am working on major structural and cultural reforms to Customs and will announce them next year," Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said.

"There is no place for corruption in our law enforcement agencies. Where it exists we have to weed it out."

The move follows the recent arrests of a customs officer, another from the quarantine service and six members of the public after a two-year probe. They have been charged with a range of offences including drug trafficking, receiving bribes and abuse of public office.

Police said the inquiry was continuing amid allegations that an "entrenched network" of corrupt customs officers at Sydney airport had been working with organised crime figures to import drugs.

A six-month investigation by Fairfax Media and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said up to 20 officials were suspected of being involved in importing pseudoephedrine, cocaine, steroids and possibly weapons.

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service acting chief Michael Pezzullo said he was disappointed.