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Australian police arrest man for sending suspicious parcels to foreign consulates in 3 cities

Press Trust of India  |  Melbourne 

A 49-year-old man has been arrested by for allegedly sending dozens of suspicious packages reportedly containing powder to diplomatic missions across the country, including the here.

was arrested at his home in Shepparton on Wednesday night, hours after over 10 consulates in and and embassies in were forced into lockdown due to suspicious packages.

Authorities are yet to confirm what was in the parcels, but early reports suggested they appeared to contain

The white powder was mailed through Post and is suspected to have been sourced from Avan's home.

Only 29 of the 38 packages have been discovered so far, but police said they have put processes in place to recover the outstanding parcels safely.

The and said the man was charged with sending dangerous articles to be carried by a postal service, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years jail.

He was remanded in custody following a Magistrates' Court hearing Thursday, said.

A told court the deliveries contained asbestos, and Avan did not apply for bail.

"Police have so far recovered 29 of these packages, with forensic testing to be undertaken on them to determine the exact composition of the material in them," the federal and state police said in a joint statement.

"Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages. There is no ongoing threat to the general public."

The Indian and the US consulates on St Kilda Road were among a number of diplomatic missions across and targeted with suspicious packages on Wednesday, sparking an emergency "hazardous material" response and some evacuations.

It came two days after was partially evacuated following reports of a suspicious substance.

At least two consulates, including that of in Melbourne did not contact authorities about packages until they received an email from government, said.

Police said that Avan sent 38 parcels containing to consulates and embassies in the three cities on January 7.

Avan is expected back in court on March 4.

The first suspect packages were found at three consulates and embassies in and earlier in the week.

The said it had sent an e-mail to all Canberra-based diplomatic missions on Wednesday, and then to other consulates across

"After learning of incidents at three offices in and Canberra, the DFAT sent a note to all diplomatic missions in Canberra on January 8 alerting them to the possibility of suspicious packages being delivered by mail," a said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 10 2019. 17:35 IST