Drug dealers are exploiting innocent people through courier services and using people working from home to unknowingly traffic substances around the country.
Courier companies including Airtasker and Zoom2U have been caught up in investigations from the Australian Federal Police after large quantities of drugs were moved through Sydney and Melbourne in the past year.
Coronavirus travel restrictions have pushed traffickers to use couriers and the Australia Post service to deliver drugs while using false identities to remain anonymous.
Police believe 55 kilos of cocaine was moved by Zoom2U couriers concealed in industrial machinery in Sydney last year, while Airtasker couriers are alleged to have transported 10 kilos of MDMA in Melbourne earlier this year.
Innocent couriers have been linked to drug trafficking operations in Australia through services such as Airtasker (pictured), with crime syndicates using postal services to move substances amid COVID-19
Neither group of couriers had any idea they were transporting illegal substances.
‘Criminals will do whatever they can, and use whoever they can, to stay anonymous and arm’s length from the illegal activities,’ AFP national co-ordinator for drug strategy detective acting superintendent Craig Bellis told SMH.
Five people were arrested following the two trafficking incidents after Airtasker and Zoom2U aided police in their investigations.
‘These arrests show that no matter how criminals try to conceal and move their drugs, we are one step ahead – we will outsmart them,’ acting superintendent Bellis said.
Both companies have continued to work with detectives in their investigations into suspected criminal activity using courier services.
Acting superintendent Bellis said police were aware of instances where innocent people have become entangled in trafficking methods after responding to online ads during to the coronavirus pandemic.
Police believe criminals are taking advantage of people who lost their job or are working from home during the coronavirus period to unknowingly help in their illegal operations (stock image)
He believes crime syndicates have taken advantage of people who have lost their jobs or are working from home to aid in the transportation of illegal substances.
‘We are aware of some incidents where offenders have purchased goods online using stolen credit card details and have organised to have the goods sent to innocent people, who repackage the items and deliver them to another address,’ acting superintendent Bellis said.