Man Arrested After Suspicious Packages Sent To Consulates Throughout Australia

The packages contained asbestos, once a popular building material that can cause cancer and scarring of the lungs.

The man, named as Savas Avan, was charged with sending unsafe 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.

A man has been arrested after almost 40 suspicious packages were discovered at foreign embassies and consulates across Australia.

The man is expected to appear before Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Thursday morning.

The man sent 38 parcels to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney, with a substance that is suspected to have come from his Shepparton home, according to authorities.

Police will allege the man sent 38 parcels to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, containing a substance sourced from his home.

Police have so far recovered 29 packages, which will be forensically tested, police said.

Avan did not apply for bail and is due back before court on March 4.

They identified all the intended recipients and were working to recover the remaining packages, but said there was no ongoing risk to the public.

The Indian and USA consulates on St Kilda Road, along with the British, Swiss, German Korean, Greek, Italian, Pakistani and Egyptian missions were targeted. The Victoria state police said on January 9 that they believe the incidents are targeted, and that the general public is not at great risk.

"Similar advice was subsequently provided to consulates around Australia". The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, police said.

Local media on Monday reported that the Argentine consulate in Sydney had received a package containing white powder.

"The note advised missions to handle mail in accordance with their own government's protocols and instructions", Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that a worker from the New Zealand consulate in Melbourne had said the packages in question were envelopes labelled "asbestos".

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