Couple 'Win' Vacation, End Up as Drug Mules

Canadian arrested in connection with bogus trip contest

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 25, 2013 1:50 PM CDT | Updated Oct 27, 2013 6:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – If an all-expenses paid trip to Canada, including accommodations and new luggage, sounds too good to be true, well, hindsight is 20/20. An Australian couple thought they'd won a dream vacation when they were revealed as the "lucky" winners of a contest they'd entered online. It turns out the competition, from bogus Canada-based tour company AusCan Tours, was effectively an application to be drug mules. When the Perth couple, ages 64 and 72, returned home to Australia a little suspicious about their bags, they alerted the airport's customs officials, who found $7 million in crystal meth stashed in the lining, the AFP reports. Australian police think the couple's luggage was switched in Canada.

A Canadian was arrested in Perth—he was apparently supposed to meet the couple upon arrival—and a raid turned up suitcases similar to those seized, related documents, and $15,000 in cash. The scam, uncovered earlier this month, apparently targeted older people, and there are "a lot of Canadians involved in this," a reporter told the CBC, citing eight arrests over the last year and a half. Meanwhile, the victims are warning others: "Be very careful if you win anything," the woman told the Australian. "I could have ended up in jail for 25 years, and they could have ruined my life."

Packages containing methamphetamine are stacked in a warehouse in Melbourne, Australia.
Packages containing methamphetamine are stacked in a warehouse in Melbourne, Australia.   (AP Photo/Australian Federal Police, HO)
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