25 October 2023, 7:14am
Two Melbourne men arrested, meth seized and clan lab dismantled
Editor’s note: Images and footage are available via Hightail
This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police.
The AFP has charged two alleged members of an Australian criminal syndicate accused of possessing and manufacturing large quantities of methamphetamine, after a clandestine laboratory was found in a Melbourne factory unit.
The men faced Melbourne Magistrates Court this week (Monday, 23 October, 2023) after they were arrested at Epping and Airport West on Friday 20 October, 2023.
The arrests are a result of an investigation that started earlier this month into a transnational and serious organised crime suspected to be involved in the importation and manufacture of methamphetamine.
Investigations identified a warehouse in Epping that was believed to be linked to the syndicate. On Friday afternoon, Victoria Police executed a search warrant at the premises.
Investigators found a clandestine laboratory in operation, which was being used to produce methamphetamine. Victoria Police’s Clandestine Laboratory Squad, Forensic Chemist and Disaster Victim Identification Unit dismantled the laboratory before the AFP seized a commercial quantity of the drug, as well as chemicals involved in the manufacture and extraction of methamphetamine.
Both men were arrested and charged with:
Possessing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug reasonably suspected to have been imported, contrary to section 307.8(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
Manufacturing a commercial quantity of a controlled drug, contrary to section 305.3(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
Investigations are underway as to how and when the drugs reached Australia.
AFP Detective Inspector Rick Briggs said Australian law enforcement agencies were united in the fight against organised crime.
“Through our combined commitment to combatting drug trafficking, the AFP and our partner agencies continue to work across jurisdictions and borders to deal significant blows to criminal syndicates,” Det-Insp Briggs said.
“This investigation has stopped a production line of methamphetamine from hitting Australian streets, and prevented millions of dollars of drug profit flowing back into the syndicate to fund their next criminal venture.
“Criminal syndicates involved in drug importations do not care about the harm they cause to Australian communities –from the violence between rival dealers that put innocent communities at risk, to the drug driving crashes and the thousands of methamphetamine related hospital admissions.
“The AFP is working tirelessly with partners to make Australia a hostile environment to these criminal syndicates, to protect the Australian community.”
Victoria Police Detective Inspector Anthony Vella said clandestine laboratories were inherently dangerous places.
“They pose significant health and safety risks to the community and many of the chemicals involved in drug manufacture are highly volatile, explosive or carcinogenic in nature,” said Det-Insp Vella.
“Residual contamination resulting from the manufacture of these illicit substances also presents a serious risk to both human and environmental health.
“We know that the trafficking and use of drugs is an enormous driver of serious and organised crime across the state and these offences are a key focus for Victoria Police right across the organisation.
“These arrests should serve as a sobering reminder to those engaged in the manufacture of illicit substances - you will be targeted and held to account.”
*Hopitalisation figures sourced from an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report.
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 www.counsellingonline.org.au.
For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to www.turningpoint.org.au.