Police charge three after 130kg of ‘ice’ found within wax slabs

PLEASE NOTE: NSWPF-branded vision of the arrests will be available via Hightail later today.

Three men have been charged over the alleged importation of 130kg of methylamphetamine into NSW concealed in paraffin wax following a joint investigation by the NSW Police Force, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF).

In December 2022, officers from the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad commenced an investigation under Strike Force Guelphs to investigate an organised criminal syndicate involved in the supply of prohibited drugs.

As part of ongoing investigations, Australian Border Force officers intercepted a consignment from Malaysia in late January 2023, said to contain bathroom accessories and tiles.

During a subsequent examination, 130kg of a substance believed to be methylamphetamine was allegedly found concealed within slabs of paraffin wax.

The estimated potential street value of the methylamphetamine is more than $115 million.

Strike force investigators seized the drugs and commenced further investigations with the AFP.

Following extensive inquiries, Drug and Firearms Squad detectives, assisted by Raptor Squad officers, arrested three men – aged 30 and two 31-year-olds – inside a shopping centre about 6.40pm yesterday (Wednesday 8 February 2023).

Strike force detectives and AFP officers later executed four Commonwealth search warrants in Auburn, West Ryde, and Haymarket where they located and seized identification documents, and about $20,000 cash. All items will undergo further forensic examination.

All three men were taken to Burwood Police Station and charged with import commercial quantity of border controlled drug, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

The three men were refused bail to appear at Burwood Local Court later today (Thursday 9 February 2023).

State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad Acting Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Stuart Gordon, said this group were identified through ongoing investigations into another criminal syndicate.

“Organised criminals operate sophisticated networks to import and supply these prohibited drugs into NSW,” Det Acting Supt Gordon said.

“The only priority for these syndicates is profit – they have a complete disregard for the harm caused when these drugs hit the streets.

“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify those involved in this sort of activity. The only realistic outcome for involvement in organised crime is years in gaol and the loss of homes, cars, and anything else gained as a result.”

ABF Superintendent Mal Nimmo said the significant seizure showed once more that the ABF is the nation’s first and most important line of defence against the scourge of dangerous drugs.

“Organised crime groups seek to infiltrate the border through all kinds of audacious methods in their many attempts to smuggle these harmful substances into the Australian community,” Supt Nimmo said.

“That’s why our ABF officers work day and night to toughen the Australian border against this type of criminal activity, and we will relentlessly continue to do so.

“This result speaks volumes to the strength of the partnership we have with our state and federal law enforcement colleagues and highlights yet again that those seeking to break the law have nowhere to hide.”

AFP Detective Superintendent Narelle Mitchell said this investigation is another example of law enforcement working together to protect the community.

“The AFP’s focus now will be to use our International Network, which has a presence in more than 30 countries around the world, to identify those responsible for sourcing and sending these drugs to Australia.

“This is a dangerous time to be part of an organised crime group involved in the drug trade in Australia, because we are focused, relentless and will use every tool we have to target you in multiple, innovative ways.”

Anyone with information about organised criminal networks or drug importation that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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