Police arrest man after more than a tonne of powders seized as investigation continues into $300 million ice import

Police have charged a man and seized more than a tonne of powders consistent with drug manufacture as part of an ongoing investigation into large scale drug trafficking.

In January 2019, the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad and the NSW Crime Commission established Strike Force Pirinari to investigate the importation, manufacture and supply of illicit drugs and precursors in NSW.

Acting on information from the NSW Police Force, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers targeted an air cargo consignment which had arrived at a Sydney freight depot from South East Asia in February this year.

During a subsequent deconstruction of the consignment, it was found to contain about 400kg of methylamphetamine, which has an estimated potential street value of $300 million.

Strike force investigators seized the drugs and commenced a joint investigation with the Australian Federal Police assisted by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives, assisted by the Dog Unit and the Drug and Firearms Squad’s Chemical Operations Team, executed a search warrant at a business premises at Rockdale about 8.15am yesterday (Thursday 4 June 2020).

During the search, police seized 1.1 tonne of assorted powders, suspected to be precursors used in the manufacture of prohibited drugs.

The substances have the potential to yield 400kg of methylamphetamine.

Inside the roof cavity of the building, officers located and seized cocaine, cannabis, more than 1000 rounds of ammunition and in excess of $10,000 in cash.

About 9.15am, a second search warrant was executed at a residential unit on Rockdale Plaza Drive, Rockdale, where police seized cash and several documents.

Detectives arrested a 70-year-old man at the Rockdale business and taken to St George Police Station.

He was charged with three counts of supply prohibited drug, supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, possess prohibited drug, possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority and deal with property proceeds of crime.

Police will allege in court that the man supplied prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis from the Rockdale business.

He was refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (Friday 5 June 2020).

State Crime Commander, Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith, said this is another successful example of Australia’s law enforcement agencies working together to tackle transnational organised crime.

“Criminal syndicates pose a significant threat to our community; they are organised, multi-faceted and generally involved in a diverse range of criminal activity to create illicit wealth,” Assistant Commissioner Smith said.

“Dismantling criminal operations of this size requires a coordinated approach, and those involved should know NSW Police – along with our partnering agencies – are committed to stop the supply of dangerous drugs whether you are importing them into our state or manufacturing them in a lab.

“Today’s arrest and seizures are the result of our partnerships, and the dogged commitment of investigators from all agencies to minimise the harm that drugs are doing in our community.”

Assistant Commissioner Eastern Command Justine Gough said that the seizure of hundreds of kilograms of drugs and precursors would prevent thousands of street deals.

“The syndicates we target have no regard for the suffering they cause through their illegal actions. They will continue to exploit Australians by whatever means necessary unless we put a stop to their criminal activities.” Assistant Commissioner Gough said.

“In order to protect our communities, we will continue to work tirelessly with our domestic partners and ensure we remain on the front foot when it comes to putting a stop to the importation and production of these harmful drugs.”

Inquiries under Strike Force Pirinari are continuing.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Pirinari 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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