162kg of meth concealed with spoons, two charged
A joint operation, between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF), has resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of approximately $162 million.
Two men, aged 42 and 22, have been charged with serious drug importation offences as a result of this operation which police will allege has prevented more than 1.6 million street deals of meth from entering the community.
On 2 February, a consignment arrived via sea cargo from Hong Kong into Sydney. An examination by ABF officers revealed 380 boxes of cooking equipment, including ladles and spoons packaged as displays for re-sale.
ABF officers detected anomalies in 142 boxes, and a number of vacuum-sealed bags were found, each containing approximately 285 grams of a white crystalline substance. The substance returned a positive result for methamphetamine, with a total approximate weight of 162 kilograms. Further forensic testing will occur to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance.
The matter was referred to the AFP for further investigation, and after a controlled delivery, two men were arrested in connection with the importation yesterday (Thursday, 16 February).
A 22-year-old Hong Kong national was arrested in Auburn, NSW, and charged with two offences:
- importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
- attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.5 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth), by virtue of s11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth)
A 42-year-old NSW man was arrested in Wiseman’s Ferry, NSW, and charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), by virtue of s11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
The men are due to appear in Sydney’s Central Local Court today.
AFP Acting Commander Brett James, State Manger NSW, said this significant seizure should not be underestimated.
"If these drugs had made it to the streets, we estimate this equates to some 1.62 million hits. These would have devastating impact not only the users but on their family, friends and loved ones,” acting Commander James said.
ABF Regional Commander NSW, Tim Fitzgerald said the ABF continues to use their expertise and technology to detect even the most sophisticated concealments that these syndicates use to attempt to smuggle drugs into this country.
“This operation has shut down a criminal entity wanting to bring significant harm and misery to the Australian community through the attempted importation of these illicit substances.”
Notes for media:
*The AFP uses the ACIC Illicit Drug Data Report (www.acic.gov.au) as the consistent publication for illicit substances in Australia. This figure is the basis of calculating both the monetary value of the illicit drug were it to be sold at the end of the supply chain or 'on the street', and the number of related street deals. This is based on available price data and may not be reflective of what would generally be considered as a street deal for this drug type.
Images and videos from this operation may be obtained from the following links:
AFP National Media + 61 2 6131 6333
ABF Media + 61 2 6264 2244