back to article What a meth: Elderly Melbourne couple sign for 20kg shipment of drugs, say cops

Australian police say an elderly duo called them after unwittingly taking in what cops described as a 20kg (44lb) shipment of methamphetamine from the delivery person. The couple signed for the hefty, enigmatic parcel yesterday and rang the fuzz "immediately" said the coppers. "They were unsure of the significance of the find …

  1. MJB7

    Insurance value 5k max

    Even if insurance *was* available for $10M, I am pretty sure the shipper would not attempt to claim on it.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Insurance value 5k max

      I wouldn't bet on it:

      Drug dealer arrested after calling police to report stolen cocaine

      after all, if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime...

      1. Crazy Operations Guy

        " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

        The smart ones don't get caught, so you only hear about the incompetent ones that get caught.

        1. TonyJ

          Re: " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

          Surely the "smart" ones enter banking or politics? Or both

          1. Mark 85

            Re: " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

            Surely the "smart" ones enter banking or politics? Or both

            Only after they tell everyone how much smarter they are then anyone else.....

          2. Vector

            Re: " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

            "Surely the "smart" ones enter banking or politics? Or both"

            Smart? Politics!?

            Surely, you jest.

            1. Karl Vegar

              Re: " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

              Smart politicians: Not necessarily as much of an oxymoron as you'd think.

              I'll grant you that a lot of politics don't make sense in pursuit of stated goals. But we all know politicians have an understanding with truth. So why do we believe the stated goals?

              And what might be a less than optimal way of completely missing the stated goal, might just be a less visible way to achieve something else.

          3. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

            > Surely the "smart" ones enter banking or politics? Or both

            Think of a scam which has people coming back again and and again, throwing money at you and violently attacking anyone who questions your integrity.

            Yup - religion. That's where the _really_ smart ones go.

          4. anonymousI

            Re: " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

            And of course the really cunning ones turn words into money via the legal caper.

        2. Trixr

          Re: " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

          Having worked in a role that was very close to Police operations, I can tell you that the vast majority of crims are idiots, which is why they become crims in the first place.

          Sure, you get your so-called "white collar" crims (many of which are stupid as well - just look at Enron and their email trail) and your gang masterminds, but they are by far the minority.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: " if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime"

            I must be smart, they haven't caught me yet.

            Anon, of course.

      2. LucreLout

        Re: Insurance value 5k max

        after all, if they were smarter they might not have to turn to crime...

        Yup. On the whole criminals are thick as fuck. Fingerprints have been used in court for 100+ years and they still don't glove up. DNA & RNA combined can uniquely identify only you, and yet so many burglars take a dump or piss on the bed of their victims. So it goes....

        This Hollywood idea of a criminal mastermind is near universally made up. Occasionally you do find a relatively clever criminal, the late great Howard Marks springs to mind, but they're still not smart enough to understand the essence of their bet: That they are now and will always be, smarter or luckier than everyone in every law enforcement agency that might take an interest in them. It's not a smart bet; even if you're in the top 0.01% of the country, there's still 700,000 people as smart or smarter than you (IQ terms to keep the argument simple), and in terms of resources they are way over-matched. You have no way of knowing how many have joined law enforcement.

        1. Insert sadsack pun here

          Re: Insurance value 5k max

          Howard Marks was a charming well-spoken shithead. His business funded Pakistani political militias and Filipino sex slavery - as he describes in his entertaining biography. The sooner cannabis is legalised and fuckers like him are put out of business, the better.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Insurance value 5k max

            "The sooner cannabis is legalised and fuckers like him are put out of business, the better."

            And when it comes down to it, this is what ALL the narchogangs are about - MONEY.

            Making stuff illegal and increasing the penalties simply increases the profits - it doesn't increase the production or distribution costs and it merely encourages sale to more and more people to make more profit. This is WHY you have dealers pushing crack at schoolkids.

            Drug usage are a symptom and you can't win a war against a symptom. Imagine a war against sneezing that didn't aim to actually eliminate Ebola as the cause of the sneezing.

  2. GreggS

    sounds like a little white li(n)e.

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Vision dream of passion.

      1. Anonymous Custard

        Going though my mind...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a shame the pensioners decided to hand it in, could have really livened up the local tea dances with it.

    1. Mark 85

      And added much money to their retirement fund.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        And added much money to their retirement fund

        And (eventually) ensuring that they had housing when older. At Her/His[1] Majesties pleasure.

        [1] Depending on when they get caught.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "What a shame the pensioners decided to hand it in, could have really livened up the local tea dances with it."

      Mmmmm....Imagines MIck Jagger at a tea dance!

      (some people seem to have odd ideas of what a pensioner is. Remember, people turning 65 this year were the teen/early-20's aged pop and rock stars/fans of 40 or so years ago, eg 1970's/80's)

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Tea Dances

      Perhaps some of the older folk present reminiscing about how it the tea reminds them of the old days in 1930s Germany

  4. Oliver Mayes

    This is really common in some places, deliberately send it to a fake name at a random address. Then they stake out the location, wait for the package to be delivered and go up 2 minutes later claiming they live down the street and it's their package that's come to the wrong address.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or get it sent to your current address, using the name of someone who used to live there.

      Hypothetically speaking of course...

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Oh yes, mail to Theo C. Cuppier, still get a lot of that. That chap really got about.

    2. Oldgroaner


      There's a George Pelecanos novel about this dodge -- spoiler, it doesn't work out well!

    3. mark l 2 Silver badge

      The Jolly Rogers Cook Book used to have an article which told you to do this sort of scheme to get your illicit items delivered to a pasty. They were thinking of mail order items purchased using stolen credit cards, but it works just as well for drugs. Or not in this case.

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        delivered to a pasty

        With lots of tanning cream?

        1. Ken Shabby

          Re: delivered to a pasty

          I this he meant pastie.. with a beer -->

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Fake address dropboxing

        "They were thinking of mail order items purchased using stolen credit cards, but it works just as well for drugs."

        Or (bringing it back to biting the hand that feeds IT): servers and routers when you're setting up a new ISP:

        "One Friday night there was a visit from the police, who unplugged and removed all the new Iconz hardware to the sixth floor of the central Auckland police station.


        Apparently most of the equipment seized by the police had been obtained through credit card fraud. The so-called business partner had created the scam while working for a company that sold PBX equipment. He had acquired a pile of credit card carbon-copy forms from a retail outlet in Newmarket to get names and card numbers, then convinced retailers to deliver goods to an office address. The couriers would then be intercepted by this person or an accomplice just outside the office, often in a high rise in central Auckland, saying they had urgently been waiting for the disk drives, screens, modems, or whatever equipment was being hijacked. The courier, in a rush, would be glad to get a signature and head back down to street level. The supplier never knew anything was wrong until a month later when the real credit card owners denied ever purchasing the products.[4] "

        (This is the same "Internet Company of New Zealand" that pioneered sending out fraudulent domain renewal forms in the mid 1990s long before various "Internet Registry of XYZ" copycats emerged - the victims - suckered by the company name - would have their registration and DNS switched away from their hosting ISP and be charged a 400-1000% markup over the real registry's figures - a lot of people got pretty peeved about having their websites suddenly stop working.)

  5. Blockchain commentard

    A bit of embarrassment surely for the Oz posties for delivering a recorded package to the wrong address. Or was it for the neighbours (everyone loves good neighbours - now you'll be humming that tune all day!!!).

    1. TimMaher Silver badge

      Ear worm alert!


      @Bc you've infected me.

      Down vote to cancel out up vote.


      Everybody loves good neighbours"

      Hums off, stage left.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Is that why the dog was called Bouncer? Helped the actors with their lines a few too many times...

    3. Diogenes

      Happens to us all the time. I live in one of 3 streets in the same postie run that are very close when spoken aloud but different spelling. My wife has made friends with the ladies living at our street number in both the other streets and every Friday they do a wrongly delivered mail swap.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Dave's not here

    He lives at the south end of the street...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    20Kg is worth £5.4m? How do they work that out? A gram sells for around £10, so 20,000 x 10 is £200,000.

    1. WonkoTheSane

      It depends how it's cut down, and what with (Or so TV cop shows inform me).

      That means the 20Kg that was posted could end up being several hundred Kg by the time it gets to the corner drug dealers.

    2. Avatar of They

      A gram sells for £10.

      Does it really... I assume you know for a friend?

      Mines the one with the warrant card in the pocket.

    3. midcapwarrior

      I assume they received uncut meth, which means it's not a gram for gram comparison.

      Once it's cut with whatever they have available you would end up with multiples of the original amount.

      Or so I'm told.

      1. VikiAi

        Cut with whatever is available

        In Australia, old people use(d) Bex!

        (informational link for the young and non-Australian)

        1. Diogenes

          Re: Cut with whatever is available

          Ah yes ... the housewife's helper.... "A Bex and a good lie down" :-)

    4. katrinab Silver badge

      It is police maths. They pick a very large random number and use it as their valuation.

      1. israel_hands

        Indeed. Makes for better headlines if they can inflate it by several orders of magnitude by working out the most you could get by stepping on it so hard you'd end up with something about as lively as a sherbet dip.

        No-one selling it wholesale will end up with that amount in their pocket.

        Either that or the cops are as shit at buying drugs as they are everything else. I know if I was selling something to undercover filth I'd overcharge the pricks too.

        1. Salestard

          It's worth how much?!?

          Back in the early 90s, a friend was arrested for possession after getting pulled over by plod on a Friday night.

          He had about a fiver's worth of cannabis resin, and two ecstasy pills when they were £15 a time. Basically, a decent night out for one person.

          By some amazing feat, this turned into a street value of an Escobarian £2500.

          1. Kubla Cant

            Re: It's worth how much?!?

            ...a friend was arrested for possession...

            Ah yes, "a friend"" :)

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          They take all the (inflated) amounts at each stage of the supply chain and add them together to arrive at a meaningless number.

          That total gets added to the cash at each stage in the supply as criminal property received, and it is all added together.

          Then they allocate that total to every single person involved in all stages of the supply chain, and multiply it by the number of people involved to arrive at an even more meaningless number.

          By the way, I'm not joking. This is how police maths works.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            With all that added value, do they pay VAT on it?

            The penalties for failure to pay VAT are higher than for most other crimes.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: With all that added value, do they pay VAT on it?

              Sorry I forgot, the VAT non paid on it should also be added to the criminal property, on both sides of the transaction and for every stage of the supply chain.

              And if it is paid, then it should also be added, with no allowance for it being paid over to HMRC.

      2. Hans 1

        Like the French police, they do not know how to count past 99 000 and so start again at 1 000.


      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "It is police maths."

        Yup, and they do so in order to justify their continued sucking at the trough of "enforcement" at the expense of dealing with a _public health_ issue.

        Just ask Portugual. They haven't solved the problem with their health-care oriented changes, but it's far more manageable and the narcogangs have largely given up on the country because there's little profit to be had when addicts can get treatment for free - with the knock on effect that there's been a massive decrease in crimes best described as "for the purpose of obtaining money to purchase a fix"

        Which in turn takes out a whole other criminal enterprise chain (fencing of stolen goods etc) for lack of supply.

        Everybody benefits from the current UK drugs law madness - except addicts and the general public.

    5. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      "a gram"

      damn it, I must be old. in my day drugs were only sold in imperial units.

      When did the metric system reach this extent?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Weirdly I've always found that Class A's are always sold in grams, whereas weed is still sold in ounces (or fractions thereof). That's since the mid-90's in my experience, not sure about before then.

        1. DJO Silver badge

          I think they just add every cost at every stage

          Hypothetical figures for a random substance:

          Producer: £200

          Exporter : £300

          Importer : £400

          Wholesale (before cutting) £1,000

          Wholesale (after cutting) £2,000

          Retail £3,000

          Giving a total of £6,900 which is rounded up to £10,000

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Stage 2, exporter receives £10,000 of criminal property in the form of drugs as well as the £300 in criminal property in the form of cash, and so on through the supply chain, so add another £80,000 (you include the end user as well).

            Stage 3, each person involved jointly receives a portion of the £90,000, so treat them each individually as receiving all of it. Then multiply that by the number of people involved.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Hypothetical figures for a random substance:

            Producer: £200

            Exporter : £300

            Importer : £400

            Wholesale (before cutting) £1,000

            Wholesale (after cutting) £2,000

            Retail £3,000

            Giving a total of £6,900 which is rounded up to £10,000

            Very hypothetical figures, considering a medically pure knockout dose of cocaine or heroin is less than a quid (both substances are used in real medical settings and they're amazingly cheap, The stigma attached is because of the addiction problems)

            When you realise THAT, you realise just how vast the profits are that can be had and _why_ no matter how fast "The authorities" knock down minor players, 10 more are ready to take their place - and knocking over major players results in all out bloodbaths as they struggle for control of the money supply.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Anonymous Coward

          Speed and Coke were certainly sold by the gram in the 80's, either that or a tenner wrap.

          Resin and grass were sold in teenths or eighths.

          All were sold in Ozzies if you were doing a bit of dealing on the side.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: @Anonymous Coward

            "a tenner wrap."

            I first heard that term on one of those "cops race around the streets with flashing lights" TV shows and hearing "tenner wrap" rather than seeing the actual spelling brought up a mental image of something very, very different.

      2. TonyJ

        Old joke

        The local hairdresser has been arrested for dealing drugs.

        I can't believe it! I've been a customer for years and had no idea he was a hairdresser!!

      3. Hans 1

        Oh yeah, there was this story about Neil de Grasse Tyson and a jury, a court trying to get a guy for, 2000 mg of heroin or whatever .... Neil of course intervened: "Are you not trying to make 2 grams sound like some tonnage or something to the rest of the jury."

        Apparently, poor Neil was not invited again ...

      4. DontFeedTheTrolls

        Urban dictionary, not an EL Reg standard unit, by I always thought it was sold in eight balls

        1. Criggie

          So, what is the EL Reg standard unit for such cheesy comestibles? Serious question.

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "When did the metric system reach this extent?"

        Even in the USA, they use metric units for drugs. It's probably the only area where they are so progressive.

        (I learned this by watching Miami Vice all those years ago when they referred to drugs packages as "keys" and eventually figured out they meant Kg)

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          > I learned this by watching Miami Vice all those years ago when they referred to drugs packages as "keys"

          Those were the ones shipped in by the CIA in their private airline as part of arms deals funding the Contras - and no, i'm not making it up, this came out in Oliver North's trial over the "Iran Contra" affair

 - scroll down to #2 on the list

          Declaring a "war on drugs" whilst simultaneously flooding inner city (black) America with hundreds of tons cocaine - something that not even Orwell could have dreamed up.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      because 5.4m sounds better on the news.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not an expert but don't they factor in street value after it's been cut and diluted with mothballs and powdered glass?

      Or your supplier is really really cheap...

  8. Timmy B

    Kind of reminds me of my grandparents

    My grandmother once knocked a cheap bag of budgie seed out of their front room window. Nothing wrong in that. But a couple of months later the rozzers came a knocking on the door because of the crop that had grown up in the front garden...The seed in question contained a fair proportion of hemp seeds.

    1. TimeMaster T

      Re: Kind of reminds me of my grandparents

      Fun fact: almost all bird seed mixes have Hemp seed in them. They are supposed to have been treat so as not to sprout but the odd seed does get through sometimes.

      Apparently Canaries and other songbirds won't sing if they don't get it. It has also been cited as a possible contributing factor to the decline of wild songbirds in the USA.There used to be a lot of Hemp grown in the USA before 1937.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kind of reminds me of my grandparents

      The seeds are treated so they shouldnt sprout now.

      AH the Trill of trying to grow bird seed.

      Gets coat full of bad puns land leaves.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kind of reminds me of my grandparents

      I recently moved into a rented house that had some time previously been used as a Cannabis Growery. The place had been cleaned out and redecorated, and returned to normal rental usage. Upon taking up residence, I gave the place a thorough look over to record any problems that might need the landlords' attention, such as two blocked soakaways and some rotten woodwork in the soffits. I also found a coffee jar in the loft, the jar was half full of some suspicious looking seeds. I contacted the landlords' representative to report the problems, and asked what should I do with the jar of seeds. The panicked reply was "Get rid of it, quickly", so I flushed the contents down the bog. Unfortunately, the property is not on the mains sewer, so the seeds would have ended up in the septic tank, where, I eventually realised, they would germinate and start to grow. I then asked the landlords to get the tank pumped out, as (or so I said) I did not know what condition it was in, or how much of the previous tenants' waste products were in it. Somewhere, there is a fertiliser dump which is sprouting weeds of a very particular kind.

  9. Stevie


    Nonono, is not Crystal Methamphetamine, is prop from popular American TV show Breaking Bad, mislabeled when returning to prop department and sent to Australia instead of Burbank California. Is easy mistake to make.

    Please not to consume fake prop Crystal Methamphetamine. Contains chemicals known to cause cancer in rats in the state of California, no?

    1. elgarak1

      Re: Bah!

      You do know "Breaking Bad" was shot completely in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico?

      1. Stevie

        Re: Bah!

        And point is?

  10. lglethal Silver badge

    and police unsportingly refused to explain to reporters how it got through the Aussie mail system

    Thats something we would all like to know. I mean my packages NEVER make it through the Aussie Post system. At least never in one piece. Or on time.

    Come on tell us how they did it!

    Or was it a solid brick of meth, that after being handled by Aussie Post was turned into a bunch of powder. Combine that with delivering it to the wrong address, and we're sounding much more like the Aussie post I know and "love"...

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      There's always the possibility that the coppers were actually onto it and they did indeed move in when the true recipient identified themselves as "Bruce McBruce" from "Up the street" and asked for their pack of illegal drugs ... I've seen "Nothing to Declare" - people are that stupid!

    2. VikiAi

      Heh. Back in the 90's I received a 300page paperback book in a "Postpak" bag (official Australia Post parcel packaging) that had managed to be folded completely in two, shredding the spine.

      I have had much better experiences with AusPost in recent decades, though.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Come on tell us how they did it!"

      Pensioners calling in the fuzzies is a nice way of avoiding giving away the usual method:

      Detection as (or before) it enters the country, interception and substitution with a fake substance, then watching like hawks to see where it goes.

      Note how long they watched that warehouse. In previous cases they let dealers sell on the fake products, staked out where packages were being sent and then arrested the recipients too.

      Incidentally, it's worth noting that the "Rathkeale Rovers" are at least as heavily involved in all this as central american cartels and have been fingered in large shipments into NZ/Australia/EU - UKites will recognise them, or should do when they look up the name. Perhaps all the other illegal activity is just a distraction from the real moneymaker.

  11. DontFeedTheTrolls

    "Australian Federal Police said. They've asked that the media keep the couple's identity secret."

    Which is all well and good, however I suspect the sender, who may well have fucked up the address, probably knows the address they chose.

    1. AndyMTB

      Somewhat irresponsible of El Reg to publish a full colour picture of the old dears, don't you think?

      1. KLane

        Not them...


        That was a stock photo, and not the actual couple.

        1. Chris 244

          Re: Not them...


        2. AndyMTB

          Re: Not them...

          That's even worse! An old totally unsuspecting couple getting caught up in all of this. Does the old dentist's drill treatment work on dentures?

  12. Semtex451

    Look when you're that age you get shaky hands and it's easy to click in the wrong box when you're after your monthly 20 Kg of viagra

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Meth will have a similar effect.

      1. JulieM Silver badge

        No it won't! Ever heard of "pilly willy"? Amphetamine and similar drugs (methamphetamine, MDMA &c.) mimic a hormone that basically convinces your body that you already have a stiffie, so it won't send any more blood down there.

        On the other hand, taking a drug of that family while you actually have an erection results in it not going down until the drug wears off.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's time I tried some of that, can I get it at Boots?

  13. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Breaking News - 2022

    '...And in further news, 5 kilos of cocaine with a street value of £5,000 was seized in a raid in Chiswick: since legalisation of drugs, possession is lawful, but police suspected customs dues of £2000 had been evaded.' "The actual cost of the tax evasion may be low, and we have chosen the lowest possible estimate to be fair, but we must take £2000 of customs duty fully as importantly as we do take a £2000 home burglary" said Inspector Squab.

    "Nobody is above the law." he added fatuously.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Breaking News - 2022

      ”we must take £2000 of customs duty fully as importantly as we do take a £2000 home burglary"

      So not seriously at all then. A leaflet about victim-of-crime counseling services, if you’re lucky.

      If you’d said “as seriously as we do take someone saying something mean about someone else on Twitter”, on the other hand..

  14. regregular

    Man, turning in drugs to the fuzz is the real drug abuse.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lucky by accident?

      The OAPs may have been fortunate to call the Police before someone collected the package and eliminated the witnesses (it having been opened).

  15. Jeffrey Nonken

    If this had been in the US, the couple would have been convicted by now and sentenced to 50 years.

    Not that I am bitter.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They should have known to never accept a package from Walter White of Albuquerqe, New Mexico.

    I'd keep the two under surveillance, in case they go out and buy a beat-up old motor home and start making trips into the outback.

  17. Boo Radley

    Good Thing It Didn't Happen In The Us

    The cops, upon showing up, would have shot the couple dead, then said they were drug dealing scum. No cop would be charged with their murders, they'd all get commendations.

  18. eldakka


    an elderly duo called them after unwittingly taking in what cops described as a 20kg (44lb) shipment of methamphetamine from the delivery person.

    Wait, I'm expecting 40kg!

  19. Conundrum1885

    Re. 20kg

    Thats a lot of meth!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there a statue of limitations on drug possession ??

    Just asking, because around 1997-8 I spotted a cylinder (8" x 24") of white powder stuck in the soil pipe under my garden.

    The soil pipe lead to a septic tank shared with the neighbouring property - the pipe was also shared.

    Neighbours had been done for drug trafficking and jailed about 3 months before I found it.

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