Published: Mon, November 12, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Australian woman charged with contaminating strawberries with needles

Australian woman charged with contaminating strawberries with needles

My Ut Trinh, 50, who worked at one of the strawberry farms where the tampered produce was grown, was arrested and charged with 7 counts of contaminating goods by Queensland state police on Sunday.

The woman, reportedly in her 50s, is now set to face "unspecified charges" later today and appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

Police said the woman was a former employee of one of the brands affected, although he did not specify which one.

"The case that was put is that she was motivated by some fight or revenge", Ms Roney said.

Braetop Berries strawberry farmer Aidan Young holds a strawberry as he poses amid strawberries he will destroy following a nationwide needle scare, on his farm in the Glass House Mountains in Queensland on September 20, 2018.

She faces jail for up to 10 years if found guilty after the conservative government toughened sentencing in a bid to contain the crisis.

An Australian woman has been arrested in connection to a number of needles being found in strawberries.

Earlier on Monday, Detective John Walker said the investigation had been unique in that it involved nearly every state and jurisdiction in the country.

It is thought she was caught out after her DNA was found on one of the needles found in a contaminated strawberry.

"This is a major and unprecedented police investigation with a lot of complexities involved", Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker from the Drug and Serious Crime Group said.

The arrest follows at least 100 reported cases of sewing needles or pins found in fruit across the country. Not long after, complaints of contaminated containers spread to New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Tasmania.

Farmers were forced to dump tonnes of berries, and supermarkets pulled the fruit off sale.

Australian police said on Monday they had charged a 50-year woman with seven cases of contamination, the first charges laid in the case.

Walker said the police investigation into the broader crisis was continuing.

The sabotage and a rash of suspected hoaxes and copycat attacks also prompted the national government to raise criminal penalties for fruit tampering.

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