Almost half a tonne of MDMA seized in Sydney

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

Three people have been arrested and 496 kilograms of MDMA seized following a joint Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) operation in Sydney.

The MDMA was concealed in four industrial mincing machines in a shipping container that arrived in Port Botany from Turkey on Friday, 28 September 2018.

ABF officers targeted the container for screening, with their examination of one of the machines locating approximately 60 packages of a brown granulated substance – each weighing around two kilograms – within the door cavity of the mincer. Presumptive testing of the substance returned a positive result for MDMA. Further examination by the ABF revealed each of the four mincers contained similar packages.

AFP crime scene investigators identified 248 packages within the four machines, containing a total of approximately 496 kilograms of MDMA.

Further forensic testing will be carried out by AFP forensics specialists to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance. It is estimated that if this amount of MDMA were pressed into pills for sale on the street, it could have a potential street value of more than $57 million.*

Following a number of enquiries, AFP officers conducted a controlled delivery of the consignment to an address in Auburn, NSW.

On Saturday 6 October 2018, a search warrant was executed by AFP and ABF officers at a business address in Clyde, NSW. During the search, police seized a mobile phone and a small amount of a substance suspected to be cocaine. Police arrested a 27-year-old man at the location.

A second search warrant was then executed at a nearby business location in Clyde, NSW, where the consignment of four mincing machines was seized. A 24-year-old man and a 29-year-old man were arrested at this location. Further search warrants were executed in the Sydney suburbs of Guildford, Auburn and Elizabeth Hills yesterday.  

The men faced the Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday 7 October 2018, charged with the following offences.

  • A 27-year-old Guildford man was charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely MDMA, contrary to section 307.1, by virtue of section 11.1, of the Criminal Code (Cth), and attempting to possess a commercial a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely MDMA, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth). He was remanded in custody and is due to next appear on 17 October 2018.
  •  A 24-year-old Coogee man was charged with attempting to possess a commercial a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely MDMA, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth). He was remanded in custody and is due to next appear on 12 October 2018.
  • A 29-year-old Lidcombe man was charged with attempting to possess a commercial a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely MDMA, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth). He was remanded in custody and is due to next appear on 11 October 2018.

AFP Detective Superintendent Kirsty Schofield, Coordinator Organised Crime Sydney, said that had this amount of MDMA been pressed into pills, it could have made over 1.7 million pills.*

“Had this drug seizure made its way to Australian streets, countless lives would have been affected. Whether it be users, health care workers that deal with drug issues each and every day, or the family that has been torn apart when deaths occur from illicit substance abuse,” Detective Superintendent Schofield said.

“Seizures like this don’t address the issues of demand and why people are willing to risk their lives by taking drugs without accurate knowledge of what they contain, but stopping almost half a tonne goes some way to reducing the harm these drugs can cause our communities”.

ABF Investigations A/g Commander Garry Low said the result was a testament to the ABF’s highly skilled officers and the sophisticated technology they have at their disposal.

“Every day our officers go to work determined to protect Australia from these harmful substances, and cases like these show their hard work and dedication pays off,” A/g Commander Low said.

“Our officers have the technology, skills and commitment to find these drugs and stop them from entering the country – regardless of how criminals try to hide them.”

“It’s a significant result for public safety and a win for the people whose lives could’ve been torn apart by these drugs.”

Further enquiries are ongoing into the syndicate responsible for this importation.

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 6131 6333

ABF Media: (02) 6264 2244

Editor’s note: Footage and images are available for download here: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/Ap3jJW81qt 

*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.

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