THE Australian Federal Police intercepted more than 1.7 kilograms of methamphetamine bound for a Taiwanese national working in Castlemaine, a court has heard.
But the recipient, Yu-an Li, 25, was unaware what was inside the package when it arrived at her residence after a shift working as a 417 visa worker at Don KR Castlemaine.
Li was sentenced in the County Court in Melbourne after pleading guilty to one charge of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawful imported border-controlled drug.
The AFP intercepted the parcel on August 16 last year and found 1.714 kilograms of pure methamphetamine inside.
They then staged a “controlled delivery”, allowing it to reach Li’s residence in Campbells Creek with a listening device hidden in the package. Her residence was also placed under surveillance.
The package arrived on August 18 while Li was still at work. She called a person called Ling when she noticed the delivery.
AFP officers raided the residence one hour later and found the parcel unopened.
Li told police the package was for a friend, that she believed it contained food and she was told to hold onto it until she was given further instructions.
Her mobile phone was seized, and it contained Facebook messages with a man from earlier in the day.
The conversation was translated from Mandarin. The man asked her “have the daily necessities arrived yet?” before mentioning that he needed to keep his friend posted, and to keep him informed when it arrives.
After receiving the parcel, the man told Li it contained “illegal things”.
Police could not determine if Li would profit from the scheme.
Judge John Carmody accepted that Li did not know what was inside the parcel, and that she acted as a “patsy” for “other far more devious and criminally liable drug traffickers”.
The court heard Li and her husband arrived in Australia on 417 visas in 2015 and worked at Don KR Castlemaine from April 2016.
Two months after her arrest, Li’s husband died in a transport accident in Taiwan. Li could not attend the funeral because she was in custody in Australia.
Judge Carmody said Li’s criminality was low, but it had an “element of recklessness”.
“I find you were duped into this criminal activity and that you have well and truly learnt your lesson and will not re-offend,” he said.
Li was sentenced to 13 months prison. She has already served 12 months, and will be released later this month when she is likely to be deported to Taiwan.