Media Release: Joint investigation results in seizure of 365 litres of liquid containing Methamphetamine

Release Date: Wednesday, April 10 2013, 03:02 PM

This is a joint media release with the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and Victoria Police.

A joint law enforcement operation has resulted in the arrest of two people and seizure of 365 litres of liquid containing methamphetamine stored in bottles of carpet stain cleaner.

The investigation, involving the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Crime Commission (ACC), Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and Victoria Police, began on 6 April 2013.

Throughout the operation several key international law enforcement partners also provided assistance.

In March, Customs and Border Protection officers targeted a shipping container for examination. In April, the ACC provided further intelligence which indicated the container was high risk.

Customs and Border Protection officers, acting on breakthrough criminal intelligence provided by the ACC, examined the container which had arrived at the port of Melbourne from Hong Kong, containing 46 pallets.

The pallets were storing approximately 3,332 bottles of carpet stain cleaner. Initial examination and testing indicated the presence of methamphetamine in a number of the bottles.

Further examination revealed 96 of the bottles contained methamphetamine suspended in liquid, adding up to a total of approximately 365 litres.

Further forensic testing will be undertaken to confirm the exact weight and purity of the substance.

On 8 April 2013, the AFP partnered with Victoria Police, Customs and Border Protection and the ACC, conducted a controlled delivery where two people were arrested for importing and attempting to possess the methamphetamine.

Search warrants were subsequently executed across Melbourne yesterday, which included residential properties in Kew, Box Hill, Clayton South, Footscray and Noble Park. Further search warrants were executed this morning in Narre Warren.

It is estimated that the 365 litres of liquid methamphetamine would equate to 280kg of pure methamphetamine, with a total street value of up to $205 million.

ACC National Manager Intervention Warren Gray said that the outcome demonstrates the vital role that intelligence plays in disrupting the illicit drug trade and keeping these harmful substances off our streets.

"The fast response by Customs and Border Protection and the AFP is highly commendable and this outcome and is a great result for the Australian community," Mr Gray said.

AFP Manager Melbourne Office Scott Lee said that the multi-agency operation is testament to the hard work of all the agencies involved.

"This operation is a perfect example of how we are working with our law enforcement partners such as the ACC, Customs and Border Protection and Victoria Police to gather and share intelligence and target organised crime," Commander Lee said.

Customs and Border Protection Director Enforcement Operations Victoria Andrew Redman said that this seizure demonstrates the success of an intelligence-led approach to targeting criminals at our border.

"Customs and Border Protection is alert to the increasingly sophisticated ways that criminals conceal these dangerous drugs in their attempts to evade detection," Mr Redman said.

"We have the intelligence and the technology to target even the most sophisticated concealments".

Victoria Police Detective Superintendent Crime Command Gerard Ryan said the results of this operation demonstrated the benefits of law enforcement working together in the state, national and international arena.

"This operation is a prime example of a united law enforcement approach to tackling organised crime drug importations into Australia," Detective Superintendent Ryan said.

The AFP arrested a 45-year-old Hong Kong national and a 31-year-old Canadian national in relation to the seizure.

The alleged offenders faced Melbourne Magistrates Court today, 10 April 2013.

They have been charged with a range of offences including:

  • Import commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely amphetamine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • Attempted possession of a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely amphetamine, pursuant to section 307.5 by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment and/or a $1,275,000 fine.

The investigation is continuing both in Australia and overseas and further arrests have not been ruled out.

As this investigation remains ongoing, it is not appropriate for the AFP to comment further at this stage.

Media enquiries:

AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333

Customs and Border Protection Media (02) 6275 6793

ACC Media (02) 6243 6843

Victoria Police Media (03) 9865 2543