Australian Border Force (ABF) officers in Sydney have arrested two Malaysian nationals after detecting and preventing more than 1,200 kilograms of ephedrine from reaching illicit drug manufacturers and being used to produce ‘ice’.
On 10 September 2019 a shipment declared as furniture was x-rayed by ABF officers at the Sydney Container Examination facility and during the x-ray officers noted anomalies in the contents of the container.
A physical examination of the sea container revealed 127 boxes hidden behind a large amount of furniture.
The boxes were found to contain 1,266 kilograms of a brown substance.
Presumptive testing of the substance gave a positive result for ephedrine, a precursor used in the manufacture of the drug methamphetamine or ‘ice’.
That amount of ephedrine is capable of producing approximately one tonne of methamphetamine, which would have a street value of around $750 million.
On 16 September ABF investigators conducted a managed delivery of the container to a warehouse in the suburb of Roselands, in Sydney’s south west.
Later that day, two males were observed accessing the container and were arrested.
Each has been charged with one count of Import Commercial Quantity of Border Controlled Precursor in contravention of s.307.11(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
One is a 63 year-old who is in Australia on a Tourist Visa. The other is a 22 year-old who is here on a Student Visa.
The maximum penalty for that offence is 25 years imprisonment, a fine of $1,050,000, or both.
The men appeared in the Burwood Local Court yesterday (17 September 2019) and were remanded in custody to re-appear in the Downing Centre Court on 13 November 2019.
ABF Regional Commander for NSW, Danielle Yannopoulos, said the seizure had prevented approximately 10 million ‘hits’ of ice reaching the streets.
“ABF officers are constantly alert to attempts to conceal precursor drugs such as ephedrine, no matter how criminals try and hide them, we will find them,” Commander Yannopoulos said.
“ABF officers have the skills, technology and resources to find these concealments and track down those people who attempt to import them.”
People with information about the illicit importation of precursor or drugs should contact Border Watch by going to www.Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. By reporting suspicious activities, you help protect Australia’s border. Information can be provided anonymously.