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HomeNewsOnline fraudsters are now using elderly people to ferry drugs across borders

Online fraudsters are now using elderly people to ferry drugs across borders

Online fraudsters are now using elderly people to ferry drugs across borders

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Durban – Online fraudsters are coercing elderly people to work as drug mules, ferrying large quantities of contraband from one state to the next.

The Australian Border Force say they have arrested six elderly people from June this year, all coerced into transporting drugs by people they met online.

In August, a Korean national was nabbed allegedly carrying 2.5kg of cocaine inside his bag. He told officials he had been scammed out of money and would be given more if he travelled to Belgium to sign paperwork. He was also informed that he'd be paid faster if he took the bag to Australia.

In July, two elderly German nationals were caught for allegedly carrying 18kg of methamphetamine in six suitcases. The couple had flown to Zimbabwe and were given the cases. The couple fell for a scam claiming that they would get an inheritance worth millions of US dollars.

In June, three US nationals were arrested for allegedly carrying 15kg of methamphetamine and 1.5kg of cocaine in the linings of their passengers' luggage. They were scammed out of about R8.7m.

ABF said in the last year, they have arrested 18 alleged drug mules.

Australian Federal Police, Kate Ferry, said the new trend was not surprising as syndicates will use any means possible to import drugs into the country.

"We have unfortunately seen instances where people have not only fallen victim to classic inheritance or investment scams and lost their money, but they are then offered false hope to regain their money, some unwittingly working as drug mules for the criminal syndicate," she said.

The syndicates were targeting older people facing financial hardships, she said.

"The victims of scams are already facing significant financial hardship along with additional emotional trauma as a result of the online scam,“ Ferry added.

ABF Commander, Susan Drennan, said they have noticed an increase in illicit drug smuggling since the reopening of international travel.

"We understand that this is an incredibly difficult situation for this vulnerable community who have been brought into this situation but we do need to ensure the Australian community is kept safe from the importation of dangerous drugs.

“I urge those in the community who are approached by criminal groups to seek the help of authorities, rather than resort to criminal activity themselves," Drennan said.

In South Africa, a 69-year-old man was arrested at the OR Tambo International Airport for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs worth more than R1 million to India.


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