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26 December 2023, 10:15am
Media Release

Sydney men jailed over importing almost 300kg of meth in excavator

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

Editor’s note: Vision and images available via Hightail.

Three men have been sentenced by the Supreme Court of New South Wales for importing 295kg of methamphetamine in an excavator into Sydney.

Investigations began after the AFP received intelligence indicating an excavator concealing a large quantity of methamphetamine was destined for Australia via Hong Kong.

AFP and Australian Border Force (ABF) officers examined the excavator upon its arrival in Port Botany in July 2021 and discovered a white crystalline substance, which subsequently tested positive for methamphetamine.

The illicit drugs were concealed within layers of concrete, steel and lead in an effort to avoid detection. Two of the men purchased a number of tools from a nearby hardware store to cut into the machinery.

The men were arrested at their Sydney homes in October 2021 following search warrants.

On 9 November, 2023:

  • A Merrylands man was sentenced to nine years imprisonment with non-parole period of six years;
  • A Prospect man was sentenced to seven years and two months imprisonment with non-parole period of four years; and
  • A Pemulway man was sentenced to six years and nine months imprisonment with non-parole period of three years and nine months.

AFP Detective Superintendent Kristie Cressy 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 around them,” Det-Supt Cressy 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.”

Acting ABF Superintendent Mark Rea said criminals continued to wrongly assume that such brazen attempts of smuggling illicit substances into Australia would be successful.   

“To see these criminals face the full force of their actions should serve as a warning to those who attempt to evade our tough border controls,” Supt Rea said.

“Our strong partnership between domestic and international law enforcement partners played a huge role in this seizure and has prevented one of the most dangerous drugs from hitting our streets and causing harm to our community.

“The Australian border is a hostile environment for criminals, and ABF officers will work day and night to keep it that way.”

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 at
  • For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to

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