Shepparton man Savas Avan charged over suspicious packages sent to embassies

Frederick Owens
January 10, 2019

In an incredible coincidence, Australian authorities practiced an emergency drill including hazmat response at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, on the day that the package was opened by its sister office in Melbourne.

Police allege he sent 38 parcels containing a unsafe substance to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

The man, named as Savas Avan, was charged with sending risky articles through a postal service, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement.

Avan was arrested on Wednesday night at his Shepparton home where officers wearing protective suits later scoured the property.

Savas Avan, from Shepparton, more than 100 miles north of Melbourne, appeared at Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Some consulate workers reported seeing packages labeled "asbestos".

The packages were not believed to be risky, but police, fire crews and forensic teams were urged to use breathing apparatus as they documented and double- or triple-bagged the materials for further testing. "I knew something was weird with this guy because he's never out, never watered his lawns, nothing like that, that's why I kept away", Gordo said.

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The other missions in Melbourne that reportedly received suspicious packages included those of Denmark, Egypt, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

Emergency crews were called to several consulates on Wednesday after being alerted by staff. Authorities told her to wash her hands, she said.

Police have not ruled out the existence of further hazardous parcels but Victoria's acting Premier Tim Pallas told reporters no state government departments had received questionable mail.

"Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages".

Victoria Police said they believed the consulates were specifically "targeted" and the situation was "not impacting the general community".

Around 10 diplomatic missions, mostly in Melbourne, on Wednesday reported the delivery of suspicious packages, some of them labelled "asbestos".

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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