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With the abundance of methamphetamine labs on private premises (also known as “meth labs”), there has been an increase in the number of importations of precursers to methamphetamine.

There has been a massive increase in the number of imported packages containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, Contact NT and other precursers to methamphetamine.

The maximum penalty for the charge of intentionally import prohibited tier 1 goods (precursers) (Section 233BAA4 Customs Act) is a fine of 1,000 penalty points or imprisonment for 5 years or both.

What the Prosecution must prove

To convict you of an intentionally import prohibited tier 1 goods charge, the police must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. the person intentionally imported goods; and
2. goods were tier 1 goods and the person was reckless as to that fact; and
3. their importation:
  a. was prohibited under this Act absolutely; or
  b. was prohibited under this Act unless the approval of a particular person had been obtained and, at the time of the importation, that approval had not been obtained.

They will also need to prove that you were the person who committed the intentionally import prohibited tier 1 goods offence.

Remember, just because you received the package that contained the substance, and had possession of it, it does not necessarily mean that you will be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Your explanation for possession may be reasonable, and you may be found not guilty of the offence.

What type of penalty would you expect for this offence?

The court can impose any of the following penalties:

Whilst there is a wide variety of ways the court could deal with you in sentencing for these offences, the court will generally consider these offences as very serious.

The Commonwealth DPP will almost always elect to conduct these matters “on indictment”. This means that the charges will be heard in the District Court of NSW, heard by a judge or by a jury. The maximum penalty for this offence would therefore be 5 years imprisonment.

Unless there were exceptional circumstances, and your role in the offence was very minimal, you may be facing a term of full time imprisonment.

If you have been charged with one or more counts of Intentionally import prohibited tier 1 goods, you should contact LY Lawyers immediately.

Our client was charged with Importing 3.9 tonnes of pseudoephedrine.

Adam attended Central Local Court in October 2017 instruction Senior Counsel, when the matter was listed for Bail application before Magistrate Mabbutt. It was an extremely difficult bail application.

Providing the court with extensive evidence that the “bail concerns” held by the Commonwealth DPP could be mitigated, the court found that the surety provided by our client’s family (being a mortgage over the family house) and strict reporting conditions was sufficient for our client to be granted bail.

It is expected that our client would have had to wait at least 2 years before trial, and if bail was refused she would be spending that time in custody. Our client remains on bail to this date, awaiting her trial.

Our client, an American national was charged in February 2019 with Importing a Commercial Quantity of Border Controlled Drug, namely 3,4- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). The matter proceeded to Sydney District Court on a plea of guilty to the charge.

Our Principal Adam Ly took part in tough negotiations of the Agreed Facts with the DPP. A highly favourable position was eventually secured for our client, limited his role significantly in the commission of the offence.

On sentence at Sydney District Court on 12 May 2020, His Honour Judge McClintock sentenced our client to a Non-Parole Period of 4 years, to commence in February 2019.

An exceptional result for an importation of drugs of this quantity.


Our client was charged with importing 142kg of MDMA. A charge that carries possible life imprisonment. The “show cause” bail application was heard before Magistrate Freund in May 2018.

It was alleged that our client played a role in a criminal syndicate to import the drugs from the Netherlands. Our client strongly denied the allegations. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Our Principal Adam Ly instructed Senior Counsel in applying for bail. It was clear that the prosecution case against our client was not a strong one. Our client had no criminal history and agreed to surrender his passport. A large surety was also offered by his parents.

Strict conditional bail was granted.

Our client will fight the charges at trial in the Sydney District Court, probably sometime in 2019.