Two people have been arrested and 490 kilograms of methamphetamine seized in Sydney following a joint operation by Australian authorities, Australian Federal Police say.
On 28 November 2018, the Australian Border Force (ABF) identified and examined a container that arrived in Port Botany from Malaysia.
During the examination, ABF officers identified anomalies in three crates, which were found to contain dozens of car bonnets. Upon further examination, ABF officers located a crystalline substance inside the skin of the bonnets. The substance was tested and gave a positive indication for methamphetamine.
The detection was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
AFP crime scene investigators identified 4970 packages within 71 car bonnets. The methamphetamine, which totaled an approximate weight of 490 kilograms, was seized by the AFP. The estimated street value for these illicit drugs is $367,500,000*. Further forensic testing will be carried out by AFP forensics specialists to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance.
Following a number of enquiries, AFP officers conducted investigative activities to identify the intended recipients of the drugs.
On Friday 7 December 2018, a number of search warrants were executed by AFP officers in the Sydney suburbs of Granville, Rhodes and Penshurst. Police arrested a 17-year-old man and a 19-year-old man during the operation.
It will be alleged in court that the two men were to receive the shipment before passing it on to other members of the criminal syndicate responsible for the importation.
Further enquiries to identify other members of the syndicate are ongoing, and the AFP is liaising with the Royal Malaysia Police to identify the source of the shipment. The AFP is asking for anyone with information about this matter to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Kristie Cressy, Coordinator Organised Crime Sydney said this amount of methamphetamine would have had significant impact on the community.
“Had this drug seizure made its way to Australian streets, countless lives would have been affected. It could be users, health care workers that deal with drug issues each and every day, or the family that has been torn apart when deaths occur from illicit substance abuse,” Acting Detective Superintendent Cressy said.
“Police know better than most the heartbreaking impact of drugs like ice on our community. In stopping almost half a tonne of these dangerous drugs reaching our streets, countless families and friends have been saved from being torn apart by illicit substance abuse”.
ABF Regional Commander NSW, Danielle Yannopoulos, said the detection demonstrated the expertise of ABF officers in locating illicit drugs – no matter how sophisticated the concealment.
“Whether it be in car bonnets, clothing, meat mincing machines or even highlighters – our officers have seen it all, and they have sophisticated technology at their disposal to identify these illicit substances no matter how criminals try to hide them,” Commander Yannopoulos said.
“Methamphetamine, or ice, has a devastating effect on the community every single day – and the ABF will not stop working to identify and prosecute those involved in attempting to import it into Australia.”
Both men faced Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 8 December 2018, charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1, of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
The 17-year-old is scheduled to appear in Parramatta Children’s Court today, 14 December 2018. The Granville man is next scheduled to appear on 6 February 2019 before Sydney Central Local Court.