Two WA men in court over alleged meth import worth up to $500k

Two West Australian residents are expected to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today (Friday, 12 March 2021) charged over a failed plot to import 600 grams of methamphetamine sent in vehicle parts from Africa.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) officers arrested the pair in Belmont yesterday (11 March), after the men allegedly used power tools to cut into the parts to access the illicit substances they thought were hidden inside.

Police had been watching as the men made three trips to a hardware store to purchase a variety of hand and power tools to get the drugs.

A 32-year-old Midland man and a 33-year-old Belmont man have each been charged with:

  • Import a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Attempt to possess a marketable quantity of border controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.6 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for the offences is 25 years’ imprisonment.

AFP launched Operation Mannum earlier this month after ABF officers at a New South Wales air cargo facility examined the package and allegedly found a white powder inside a vehicle part.

The substance returned a positive presumptive test for methamphetamine.

The matter was referred to the AFP and officers replaced the illicit drugs with an inert substance before it was delivered.

Police arrested the men as they left a Belmont residence, allegedly carrying the substituted white powder and other parts of the package.

AFP Detective Sergeant Phil Norbury said illicit drugs cause immense harm in our communities but people involved in this dirty trade have no regard for the damage they cause.

“They care only about the money they can make – and 600 grams of methamphetamine could have been worth up to $500,000 in ‘street level’ sales at current Perth prices,” Detective-Sergeant Norbury said.

“We will not let any drug traffickers have an easy payday at the expense of our communities. “These arrests should serve as a warning that the AFP is working tirelessly with our partners to disrupt all levels of the illicit drug trade and prevent these substances from reaching our streets.”

ABF Superintendent Aviation Goods NSW, Matthew O’Connor said ABF officers were committed to stopping any attempt by criminals to import drugs like these.

“ABF officers across the country have the skills and technology to stop any attempted drug importation,” he said.

“Whether it be hundreds of kilograms or a few hundred grams, we will work with our domestic and international partners to stop drugs from coming to Australia and bring those responsible to justice.”

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