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Baggage handler held on drug charges

June 9, 2005 at 7:07 AM

SYDNEY, June 9 (UPI) -- A baggage handler at Sydney Airport was arrested Thursday for allegedly tipping off a friend about a drug sting, The Australian reported.

A drug squad detective, David Laidlaw, said the 40-year-old baggage handler had attempted to locate his friend's missing bag, which contained $46,000 worth of cocaine.

Police said the cocaine was smuggled on a Qantas flight between Sydney and Melbourne on Feb. 17, the newspaper reported. The baggage handler was charged with being an accessory after the fact to supply a commercial quantity of the drug.

It was the third time in two months for a Qantas baggage handler to be implicated in an alleged attempt to import cocaine.

Also, the arrest came two days after Transport Minister John Anderson announced that security at the nation's major airports would come under federal control, and security operations would be reviewed.

The defense team for Australian Schappelle Corby, sentenced last month to 20 years in prison in Bali, Indonesia, for allegedly importing drugs, said the arrest would strengthen her appeal.

Corby, who was arrested at the Bali airport with 4.1 kilograms of marijuana in her boogieboard bag, has claimed that the drugs were planted there by airport baggage handlers.

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