Wetherill Park RES charge two men after opium found secreted in air cargo

Two men have been charged following the alleged importation of more than 21kg of opium, which was detected by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.

Earlier this month, ABF officers inspected an air cargo consignment, which had arrived at a Sydney freight depot from Azerbaijan.

The consignment, which was declared to contain an iron boiler, was x-rayed and ABF officers noted inconsistencies.

During a subsequent deconstruction, it was found to contain 20 bags of a black tar substance concealed inside the boiler.

The substance was tested and returned a presumptive positive result for opium with a total weight of 21.4kg, which has an estimated potential street value of more than $3.4 million.

The consignment was seized by the NSW Police Force and investigators from Wetherill Park Region Enforcement Squad (RES) commenced an investigation.

Following extensive inquiries, officers from Wetherill Park RES arrested three men during a vehicle stop on Railway Street, Sydenham, about 5.30pm last Friday (22 November 2019).

The men – aged 40, 45 and 61 – were taken to Mascot Police Station, while the vehicle was seized for forensic examination.

The 40-year-old Pendle Hill man was charged with import commercial quantity of border-controlled drug.

The 61-year-old man Merrylands man was charged with import commercial quantity of border-controlled drug.

Both men were refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday (23 November 2019). They have been remanded in custody to next appear at Central Local Court on Monday 20 January 2020.

The 45-year-old man was released pending further inquiries.

As part of ongoing investigations, officers from Wetherill Park RES also executed three search warrants at homes at Merrylands and Smithfield, as well as a storage facility at Wentworthville from midday on Monday (25 November 2019).

During the searches, police seized 300g of heroin, an electronic control device, and various items relevant to the investigation.

The heroin has an estimated potential street value of about $150,000.

Following further inquiries, Wetherill Park RES executed a fourth search warrant at a home unit at Pendle Hill about 11am yesterday (Tuesday 26 November 2019), were they seized documentation.

Investigations are continuing.

Anyone with information about the importation and supply of prohibited drugs 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 crime via NSW Police social media pages.

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