Two people have been charged following an 18-month investigation into an alleged attempted importation of six kilograms of methylamphetamine and cocaine into NSW.
In September 2021, detectives attached to the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad – assisted by the Australian Border Force (ABF) – commenced Strike Force Madline to investigate the alleged supply and importation of illicit drugs into NSW, after two separate consignments were intercepted by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and US Customs and Border Protection on mainland America.
During a subsequent deconstruction of the two consignments, they were found to allegedly contain six kilograms of methylamphetamine and cocaine respectively.
The methylamphetamine was allegedly concealed within machinery, and the cocaine was concealed within a stone bench top.
The combined potential estimated street value of the drugs is approximately $12.6 million.
Following inquiries, a then 26-year-old man was arrested and charged on Wednesday 17 November 2021 relation to the alleged importation; he remains before the courts.
Following further extensive investigations, Queensland Police arrested a 38-year-old man during a vehicle stop in Miami, QLD, about 9am yesterday (Tuesday 28 March 2023).
A short time later, Queensland Police and strike force detectives attended a home on Marine Parade, Miami, where they arrested a 37-year-old woman.
Officers then executed a search warrant at the home, where they located and seized a number of items, including documentation relevant to the investigation.
Both were taken to Southport Magistrates Court, where Drug and Firearms Squad detectives applied for, and were granted, their extradition to NSW.
They were escorted to Tweed Heads Police Station later that evening, where the man was charged with two counts of attempt import commercial quantity of border controlled drug, and one count each of knowingly direct activities of criminal group, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime intent to conceal, and deal with property proceeds of crime.
The woman was charged with participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, obtain financial advantage by deception, deal with property proceeds of crime, wilfully make false declaration for material benefit, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime intent to conceal.
They were both refused bail to appear at Tweed Heads Local Court today (Wednesday 29 March 2023).
Police will allege in court the man assisted in facilitating the attempted import of both consignments. It will be further alleged the man laundered proceeds of crime through an online betting account between 2014 and 2017 to avoid law enforcement detection.
Drug and Firearms Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Watson, said the arrests were testament to how the collaboration between our partner agencies continues to stop harmful substances hitting the streets.
“These arrests are the culmination of 18-months of tenacious work by the squad, with the investigation examining multiple levels and associates of this alleged criminal syndicate,” Detective Superintendent Watson said.
“The damage and harm both ice and cocaine have in our communities is evident – and we have to do everything in our power to stop the shipments in their tracks. The message from us is simple – regardless of time passed or whether you now reside in a different state, if you bring illicit drugs into NSW, you will be caught and put before the courts.”
ABF Superintendent Jardena Strike Team East Graeme Campbell, said the ABF works with law enforcement agencies in Australia and overseas to stop harmful drugs crossing the Australian border.
“We know the lengths criminals will go to in their attempts to import harmful drugs into our country,” Superintendent Campbell said.
“Those who choose to be involved in this illegal trade should expect to be caught and punished.”
“The Australian border is one of our most critical national assets. The ABF, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to make the border a hostile environment for criminals trying to import illicit drugs.”
Anyone with information about drug importation and supply 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.