Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions


Serious Drugs
New South Wales

Pseudoephedrine Importation

On 26 March 2012 the defendant arrived at Sydney International Airport from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The defendant declared on his Incoming Passenger card that he was carrying food and subsequently directed to a Customs examination barrier for the purposes of a baggage examination.

The Customs officer located 11 commercially packaged food products which gave a positive indication for the presence of ephedrine.

Customs officers subsequently found that the foodstuff contained 5.687 kg of pure pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is listed in Schedule 4 of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956, the importation of which is prohibited in the absence of a permit or for a verified purpose of medical treatment. It constitutes Tier 1 goods within the meaning of section 233BAA(4) of the Customs Act 1901 provided that the pure quantity of that substance imported exceeds the critical quantity of 25 g prescribed under Schedule 1AA of the Customs Regulations 1926.

Whilst it has other legitimate uses, the importation of pseudoephedrine without permission is prohibited because it is frequently used by clandestine laboratories to produce methamphetamine (‘ice’). There was evidence in this matter that 3.758kg of methylamphetamine base, or 4.697 kg of methylamphetamine hydrochloride, could realistically be produced from the quantity of pseudoephedrine imported by the defendant.

The defendant did not have permission to import pseudoephedrine.

The defendant pleaded guilty to 1 count of unlawfully importing Tier 1 goods pursuant section 233BAA(4) of the Customs Act 1901 and was sentenced to 2 years imprisonment to be released after serving 11 months on condition that he be of good behaviour for the balance of the sentence.