Two charged and $560,000 cash seized as inquiries continue into chilli sauce ‘ice’ import

Detectives have seized more than $560,000 cash and charged two men as part of an ongoing investigation into the importation of methylamphetamine concealed in bottles of sriracha.

In September 2018, the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad and the NSW Crime Commission established Strike Force Diffey to investigate coordinated money laundering across Sydney and the importation and supply of illicit drugs into NSW.

On Tuesday 15 October 2019, ABF officers targeted an air cargo consignment of hot chilli sauce from the United States, with presumptive testing returning a positive indicator for methylamphetamine (ice).

A preliminary forensic analysis determined the 768 bottles contained about 400kg of methylamphetamine, which has an estimated potential street value of more than $300 million.

As a result of inquiries, Strike Force Diffey investigators, with assistance from Australian Federal Police and ABF, arrested and charged five people. They all remain before the courts.

Following further investigations, strike force detectives arrested a 21-year-old man during a vehicle stop on Victoria Road, West Ryde, about 2pm on Friday 22 May 2020.

A second man – aged 50 – was arrested a short distance away, at the intersection of Bellevue Avenue and Victoria Road.

During a subsequent search of the older man’s vehicle, police seized a money counting machine, a mobile phone and cash, including AUD$63,000, €1000 and USD$1000.

Investigators also located a further AUD$500,000 cash inside a cooler bag in the boot of the vehicle.

A short time later, strike force investigators executed a search warrant at a home at Sans Souci, where they seized documentation.

Both men were taken to Ryde Police Station, where the younger man was charged with knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

The Granville man was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 23 May 2020, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Central Local Court today (Tuesday 26 May 2020).

The older man was charged with two counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

Police will allege in court that the man laundered money for an organised crime syndicate involved in the importation of illicit drugs.

The Sans Souci man was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 23 May 2020, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Burwood Local Court tomorrow (Wednesday 27 May 2020).

Investigations under Strike Force Diffey are continuing.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Diffey investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence.

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