Aviation

Drug-smuggling flight attendant gets harsher sentence following appeal

A former Malaysian Airlines flight attendant has just seen his jail sentence increase for smuggling heroin into Australia.

Fariq Aqbal Omar, who was arrested last year at Melbourne Airport, has been sentenced to eight years in prison after the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions attempted to appeal his original five-year sentence for smuggling heroin into Australia, according to ABC News.

Trafficking in a commercial quantity of a controlled and border controlled drug attracts a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Omar was caught in possession of “nearly double” the commercial quantity of heroin, but will serve a maximum eight-year jail term due to a successful appeal by the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.

At the ruling on Friday, Justices Chris Maxwell, Terence Forrest and Mark Weinberg said the original sentence was “manifestly inadequate”.

“Nothing in [Omar’s] personal circumstances could have justified a sentence which was so out of kilter with sentencing standards,” the justices wrote, as reported by ABC News.

He was reportedly picked up in Melbourne last year after attempting to smuggle 10 packages of heroin under his vest and in his trousers, after being recruited as a drug mule for $500 “just a few weeks” before he was arrested.

CCTV cameras captured Omar going into the toilets at the airport, where he removed the packages and put them in his bag.

The Court of Appeal reportedly changed Omar’s non-parole period from three years to five years.

In January this year, Australian police arrested eight people allegedly connected to a drug syndicate involving cabin crew from another Malaysian airline, Malindo Air.

The syndicate had allegedly been using the cabin crew to carry drugs including heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine into Australia for a number of years.

The police have estimated more than $21 million worth of drugs were brought into the country via the syndicate.

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