Update: Australian Police Arrested Suspect in Suspicious Packages

 In Foreign

According to ABC Australia, Savas Avan, 49, was arrested by Australian Police after allegedly sending packages containing “dangerous substances” to multiple diplomatic missions. The substance turned out to be asbestos, according to court documents. He faces a 10 year prison term for mailing 38 packages.

Avan lives in Shepparton, which is just north of Melbourne, and the substance mailed was “sourced” at that location, according to police. Australian Police searched his residence after his arrest Wednesday evening.

Police believe they have located most of the packages with the assistance of the Australia Postal service. So far 29 of the 38 packages are accounted for, but authorities are looking for the rest, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Avan’s next court appearance is due on March 4. His attorney did not request bail.

One neighbor, identified only as “Gordo” described Avan as a “loner.” He reportedly has lived alone at the Shepparton location for a couple of years.

“I always thought something’s not right there, because I walk [my] dog every morning past there, and he’s a loner… 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.”

Why asbestos is dangerous:

“Microscopic asbestos fibers cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, and asbestos exposure does not cause any immediate symptoms, so it is easy for a person to inhale or swallow asbestos dust without realizing it.

Once asbestos fibers are in the body, they never dissolve, and the body has extreme difficulty expelling them. Over years of time, trapped asbestos fibers can cause inflammation, scarring and eventually genetic damage to the body’s cells…

…Asbestos fibers most often accumulate in lung tissue and in the membrane lining the lungs called the pleura. Benign asbestos-related diseases include asbestosis, pleuritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which make it difficult for patients to breathe.

Asbestos also causes malignant diseases such as lung cancer, pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma, and it is the No. 1 cause of occupational cancer in the world.”


Featured photo: Screenshot of Savas Avan via Australia 9News

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michael white