Local police arrested the sender of 38 asbestos-containing packages on January 9. Around 10 diplomatic missions reported the packages to authorities earlier that same day. This follows a similar incident at the Argentinian consulate in Sydney, which received three bags of suspicious material on January 7.

Foreign Consulates Received Packages Labelled “Asbestos”

The hazardous packages wound up at several consulates, mostly located in Melbourne. Targeted consulates included those of the United States, Britain, Switzerland, France, Greece, Israel, Pakistan, India, and South Korea. Firefighters and other emergency services workers were dispatched to all targeted consulates for safe asbestos removal.

The Australian Federal Police later arrested 48-year-old Savas Avan at his residence in Shepparton, Victoria. An investigation with the assistance of Australia Post traced the packages back to Avan. The AFP and the Victoria Police believe that the material in the packages originated from Avan’s house. After the arrest, both police forces gave assurance that there was no longer any “ongoing threat to the general public.”

The suspect appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on January 10 to face the charges against him. He did not apply for bail. If found guilty of sending out the asbestos-containing packages, he may face up to 10 years in prison. His next court appearance will be on March 4.

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