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06 February 2024, 3:38pm
Media Release

Police seize 132 litres of liquid meth concealed in washing detergent

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police and Australian Border Force

Editor’s note: Vision of the operation are available via Hightail

A Melbourne man has been charged after allegedly being linked to the attempted importation of 132 litres of liquid methamphetamine concealed in bottles of washing detergent.

The British national, 28, will face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday, 6 February, 2024), charged with the attempted possession and trafficking of a commercial quantity of methamphetamine.

A joint AFP and Victoria Police Major Drug Squad investigation - Operation Rainier/Enfield - began in January 2024 after Australian Border Force (ABF) members detected anomalies in a consignment of pallets containing bottles labelled as ‘ultra concentrate detergent’.

Forensic testing on the consignment allegedly established that 21 of the 319 bottles contained liquid methamphetamine. 

The total volume of the methamphetamine was determined to be 132 litres, which has an estimated street value of $30 million. Further forensic examination is ongoing to determine the purity of the seized drugs.

Police seized the bottles allegedly containing the illicit drugs and allowed the rest of the shipment to continue for delivery to a storage facility in Melbourne’s south east.

It will be alleged that during the execution of search warrants in the suburbs of Brighton, Bentleigh East and Dandenong; phones, electronic devices and a small quantity of MDMA and methamphetamines were seized.

The man was subsequently arrested and charged with:

  • Attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • Trafficking a commercial quantity of methamphetamine contrary to section 71AA of the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (VIC)

The offences carry a potential maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Rick Briggs said methamphetamine was an extremely addictive illicit drug and caused immense psychological, financial and social harm to users and those around them.

“Criminals have little regard for how these harmful drugs impact people, their families, and the community,” Det Acting Supt Briggs said.

“This significant seizure demonstrates the importance of the collaboration between the AFP and our law enforcement partners to disrupt attempts by organised crime to import illicit drugs.

“Criminals will continue to find crafty ways to get harmful drugs into Australia, but that won’t stop the AFP from putting them behind bars.”

ABF Acting Superintendent, Maritime Operations (VIC/TAS), Malcolm Hollis said that ABF Officers relied on a wide range of intelligence sources and detection methodologies to detect the concealment of border controlled drugs.

“An inspection of the sea container, as a result of accurate intelligence, has ensured a significant amount of a dangerous drug has been seized before entering the Victorian community,” Acting Superintendent Hollis said.

“Methamphetamine is by far the most consumed and imported illicit substance in Australia. While criminal syndicates are relentless in their attempts to import the drug, we are even more determined to stop them.”

Victoria Police Detective Superintendent Dave Cowan said this arrest and seizure had prevented immeasurable harm being wreaked on the Victorian community.

“These organised crime syndicates are driven by profit and have no regard for those people who these illicit drugs will potentially have life changing impacts on,” Det Supt Cowan said.

“We see this play out not only in a health sense, but also those who are consuming these drugs and then going on to commit other offences. Drugs are an enormous driver of family violence and crimes such as aggravated burglary and theft, plus they are a key contributor to deaths on our roads.

“Detectives from the Major Drug Squad have worked closely with the AFP and ABF as part of their investigation and that collaboration has been crucial in making this arrests and seizures.”

The investigation into the organised crime syndicate responsible for this importation is ongoing.

Note to media

Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.

  • For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
  • Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online.
  • For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to the Turning Point website.
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