US Resident Charged for Attempted Possession of 250kg Meth

The AFP has charged a United States resident with attempting to possess 250kg of methamphetamine in a joint investigation with the United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The man, 40, is expected to appear in Downing Centre Local Court today (11 July, 2024). He was arrested by AFP officers yesterday at Sydney Olympic Park after he allegedly attempted to take possession of an inert substance which was purported to be methamphetamine.

Another three men were also arrested at the same time, initially suspected of being engaged by Australian-based buyers to collect the drugs. They have been released without charge pending further inquiries.

This activity was part of a joint investigation between the AFP and HSI Los Angeles into an American-based organised crime organisation allegedly facilitating an importation of border-controlled drugs into Sydney.

The AFP will allege the man attempted to possess the methamphetamine after agreeing to purchase it for over AUD$7 million from the American-based organisation.

AFP officers executed further search warrants at a Silverwater address where they seized a number of items that will be the subject of further investigation.

The man has been charged with one count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

Following the arrest in Australia, HSI Special Agents executed a search warrant in Los Angeles, California, and arrest warrants in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York, resulting in the arrest of three members of this transnational criminal organization.

AFP acting Commander Investigations Eastern Command Peter Fogarty said the AFP and its international law enforcement partners were committed to combating cross-border illicit drug trafficking networks.

"Drug syndicates inflict harm to every community they operate in, and this result is another example of the strong outcomes that can be achieved through joint international efforts," he said.

"Methamphetamine is the second-most consumed illicit drug in Australia and across Australia, 27 people on average were admitted to hospital every day in 2021-22 for methamphetamine-related issues**. That has an impact on the health system that can negatively affect the entire community.

"The AFP is unwavering in its protection of the way of life for all Australians. We are committed to targeting and combating serious organised crime groups that seek to profit from the harm they cause in our communities."

HSI Los Angeles Special Agent in Charge Eddy Wang highlighted the importance of international law enforcement cooperation.

"Los Angeles remains a central distribution hub for narcotics trafficking to Oceania. To be truly effective at disrupting and dismantling transnational criminal organizations, it takes robust partnerships like the one that we have forged with the Australian Federal Police," he said.


**Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report

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