Hazmat and fire crews work outside the Indian and French Consulate in Melbourne, Australia Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. At least seven international consulates were evacuated in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday after reports that multiple suspicious packages had been sent to them. (Kaitlyn Offer/AAP Image via AP) (Associated Press)

SYDNEY — Australian police arrested a man after 38 packages allegedly containing asbestos were sent to foreign consulates in the cities of Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

Savas Avan, 48, was arrested at his home in Shepparton, Victoria state, on Wednesday night, and charged with sending dangerous articles to be carried by a postal service.

He appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday to face the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Commonwealth prosecutor Matthew Simpson told the court the deliveries contained asbestos.

Avan, who was not required to enter a plea, did not apply for bail. He will appear again on March 4.

Around 10 diplomatic missions, mostly in Melbourne, on Wednesday reported the delivery of suspicious packages, some of them labelled “asbestos.” The missions included those from the United States, Britain, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Israel, Switzerland and Greece.

This followed the discovery and removal on Monday of a suspicious package at the Argentinian Consulate in Sydney.

Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police said in a joint statement they will allege the substance in the packages was sourced from the man’s home.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.