The global MDMA market continues to evolve, with factors such as supply and demand, precursor availability and law enforcement operations affecting market dynamics.
According to the UNDOC, sophisticated syndicates in the Netherlands and Belgium continue to produce the bulk of MDMA tablets and powder for the global market, including Australia, using precursor supplies sourced primarily from Asia.
Low prices for MDMA in the United Kingdom and the United States compared with the high Australian retail price ensure that Australia will remain a target for MDMA importations. The AFP works closely with Dutch authorities and other transit country authorities to help combat the drug trade and disrupt attempted importations into Australia.
- In September 2011, 288 litres of a banned precursor chemical used in the manufacture of MDMA and ecstasy was seized in Sydney labelled as hair and cleaning products. Three men were arrested.
- In November 2010, 3 kilograms of MDMA was seized in Perth located in a bicycle suspension frame.
- In May 2008, 93 kilograms of MDMA was seized in Melbourne from Canada located within spa chairs. Four males and two females were arrested.
- In June 2008, 121 kilograms of MDMA was seized in Melbourne from Canada located in 46 boxes containing massage chairs and foot spas. Four males were arrested.
Significant sentencing decisions
- In March 2010, an English female was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for importing of 26 kilograms of MDMA from the UK. The MDMA was intercepted by Customs Mail Handling Unit in Brisbane.
- In March 2010, an Australian female was sentenced to nine years imprisonment for attempting to possess 26 kilograms of MDMA. The MDMA intercepted by Customs Mail Handling Unit in Brisbane.
- In March 2010, four males were sentenced to a total of 73 years imprisonment for importing and conspiring to import commercial quantities of MDMA.
- In February 2010, a Serbian male was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for conspiracy to import 40 kilograms of MDMA.
- In December 2009, a male was sentenced to life imprisonment for importing 371 kilograms of MDMA from Canada. The MDMA was in a shipping container concealed in 180 cartons of printer ink.
- In July 2009, a European male was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months imprisonment for sending packages containing 26 kilograms of MDMA to Australia from the United Kingdom. The MDMA was packaged and sent via post.
- In June 2009, two men were sentenced in the Brisbane District Court to life imprisonment and 22 years imprisonment for their involvement in the 2006 seizure of 135.7 kilograms of cocaine and 33.1 kilograms of MDMA tablets. A previous commercial importation of drugs was also identified as having occurred in May 2006 and consisted of approximately 4 kilograms of cocaine and what has been identified as at least 265,230 MDMA tablets.
More information about drug seizures can be found in the AFP Annual Reports.