$650,000 cash, MDMA and firearms seized as inquiries continue into hot chilli sauce ‘ice’ import

A woman was charged after detectives seized three firearms, nearly $650,000 cash, and 2kg of MDMA as part of an ongoing investigation into the importation of methylamphetamine concealed in bottles of sriracha.

In September 2018, the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad and the NSW Crime Commission established Strike Force Diffey to investigate coordinated money laundering across Sydney and the importation and supply of illicit drugs into NSW.

On Tuesday 15 October 2019, ABF officers targeted an air cargo consignment of hot chilli sauce from the United States, with presumptive testing returning a positive indicator for methylamphetamine (ice).

A preliminary forensic analysis determined the 768 bottles contained about 400kg of methylamphetamine, which has an estimated potential street value of more than $300 million.

As a result of inquiries, Strike Force Diffey investigators, with assistance from Australian Federal Police and ABF, arrested and charged four men – aged 30, 34, 36 and 45. They remain before the courts.

Following further investigations, strike force detectives executed a search warrant at a unit at Merrylands about 9am on Thursday (5 December 2019).

During the search, police located $644,000 cash, two semi-automatic pistols, a .22 calibre shortened bolt action rifle, ammunition, 2kg of MDMA, 250g of cocaine, 340g of cannabis, mobile phones, sim cards, drug paraphernalia and various documents.

The estimated potential street value of the drugs seized at the property is almost $200,000.

A 24-year-old woman was arrested at the location and taken to Granville Police Station.

She was charged with possess identity information to commit indicatable offence (x4), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, possess unauthorised prohibited firearm, possess unauthorised pistol (x2), not keep firearm safely- prohibited firearm, possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority, and supply prohibited drug (x3).

Police will allege in court that the woman used fraudulent identification to set-up four businesses to assist with the importation of illicit drugs.

She was refused bail and appeared at Fairfield Local Court on Friday (6 December 2019), where she was formally refused bail to re-appear at Parramatta Local Court on Thursday 30 January 2020.

Investigations under Strike Force Diffey are ongoing.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Diffey investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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