06 February 2024, 2:30pm
Two charged over major methamphetamine seizure
This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force
Editor’s note: Vision and audio grabs available on Hightail.
The AFP has charged two men with allegedly importing 91.4kg of methamphetamine into Australia hidden inside a coffee grinder.
The AFP began its investigation in early January, 2024 after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers allegedly discovered methamphetamine concealed inside the industrial coffee grinder, which arrived at Brisbane International Airport on a commercial flight.
The consignment originated in Guatemala and transited through Mexico and Hong Kong before arriving in Brisbane. The methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of $80 million, was removed from the coffee grinder and replaced with a harmless substance before it was reassembled for collection.
AFP officers tracked the consignment as it was transported from Brisbane to a home in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta.
The AFP executed a search warrant at the Cabramatta home on 31 January, 2024, where they arrested the two men, aged 24 and 20.
One of the men allegedly attempted to escape over a fence during the arrest but was prevented by officers.
Both men were charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The offence carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Investigators seized a mobile phone, a USB, 500g of a substance believed to be amphetamine, tools allegedly used to access the coffee grinder and $40,000 suspected to be the proceeds of crime from the home.
The men did not apply for bail when they appeared at the Downing Centre on 1 February, 2024 and the matter was adjourned to 28 March, 2024.
The AFP is continuing its investigation and more arrests are possible.
AFP Commander John Tanti said the successful interception was another blow against transnational serious organised crime.
“Had the import been successful it would have made the members of the syndicate rich but it would have caused havoc on the streets of Australia,” Commander Tanti said.
“Thanks to the vigilance of ABF and the tenacity of AFP investigators, I’m pleased to say that has not happened.
“Criminal syndicates go to great lengths to conceal their activities but it is impossible to hide from the AFP and our domestic and international partners.”
Acting ABF Commander Jim Ley said he was tremendously proud of his officers in Brisbane for making such a significant discovery.
“The diligence of ABF officers has allowed our partners to uncover and disrupt an organised crime group, preventing them from putting our community at great risk,” Acting Commander Ley said.
“The Australian border is one of our most crucial national assets, and ABF officers are at the front line 24/7 utilising their skills and expertise to discover and seize illicit goods and substances just like this.”
The Queensland Police Service also provided assistance to the AFP investigation.
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.