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21 June 2024, 4:04pm
Media Release

Operation Ironside: Sydney man jailed over pseudoephedrine import

A Sydney man has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment by the NSW District Court today (21 June, 2024) for his role in a plot to import 127kg of pseudoephedrine into Sydney. 

The man, 39, pleaded guilty on 19 October, 2023 to conspiring to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled precursor and dealing with money reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime after being charged in June 2021.

Intelligence obtained during Operation Ironside - a three-year, covert investigation into significant organised crime syndicates using the dedicated encrypted communications device named AN0M to traffick illicit drugs and weapons to Australia - enabled the AFP to disrupt a plan to smuggle the precursor into Australia from India.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers selected the consignment, described as denim material, for examination when it arrived in Sydney in October 2020.

ABF members then performed an initial examination of the consignment and located 155kg of a compressed white crystalline substance inside plastic packages wrapped in fabric. AFP forensic analysis later confirmed the substance was pseudoephedrine and the total pure quantity was 127kg.

AFP officers executed search warrants at the man’s home in East Hills and another residence in Casula in June, 2021. Officers seized a Louis Vuitton backpack containing $14,000 cash, a plastic bag containing $110,000 cash, and three electronic devices.

AFP Detective Inspector Luke Wilson said the amount of pseudoephedrine could have been used to make around 95kg* of methamphetamine.

“These precursors would likely have been made into illicit drugs to sell on our streets, meaning we have stopped about $80 million going into the pockets of those involved in this illegal venture,” Detective Inspector Wilson said.

“The AFP is working closely with partners around the world to make Australia as hostile as possible for drug traffickers and stop them from profiting at the community’s expense.”

The man was sentenced to seven years’ jail with a non-parole period of three years and six months.

The $124,000 seized during the search warrant was forfeited to the Commonwealth.

*Estimate provided by AFP’s Forensic Drug Intelligence unit.

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