Freeze put on criminal syndicate after ice seized from fridge

A 28-year-old Chipping Norton man has been remanded in custody after 180 kilograms of methamphetamine was seized from a shipment of fridges in Sydney and allegedly traced back to his address.

The 28-year-old man was charged by Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigators in Sydney yesterday, after the illicit drugs were found in an air freight consignment from Malaysia by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.

This week's seizure came as part of an AFP Southern Command investigation which commenced in Melbourne in late 2019.

It will be alleged the consignment included 180 kilos of methamphetamine hidden inside refrigerators. The drugs inside the shipment have an estimated street value of up to $135 million.

AFP officers in Melbourne traced the importation to an address in the Sydney suburb of Chipping North where investigators executed a search warrant and arrested the man on Wednesday (16 September 2020).

During the warrant an encrypted phone, allegedly fraudulent documents and an estimated $250,000 in cash were also seized.

A second search warrant was executed in the suburb of Chester Hill, where additional items were seized for evidential analysis.

The 28 year-old was charged with Importation of a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

The man will reappear at the Central Local Court again at a later date

AFP Southern Command Commander of Investigations Ray Imbriano said the damage done by methamphetamine to individuals and to the wider community cannot be overstated.

"We know these drugs form physical and physiological dependency, and contribute to domestic violence and violence against paramedics, hospital staff and police," he said.

"Our work with other agencies to remove dangerous drugs like methamphetamine from Australian streets is protecting the health and well-being of our community."

"We are working hard to stay one step ahead of organized crime who profit from the harm this drug causes," he said.

Australian Border Force Regional Commander NSW, Danielle Yannopoulos, said the arrests highlight the effectiveness of Australia's multi-layered, multi-agency approach to targeting illicit drug imports.

"This significant detection of methamphetamine sends a strong message to international criminal groups who attempt to import harmful drugs into Australia," Commander Yannopoulos said.

"Criminals should be aware any attempts to bring these substances into the country will be met with the full force of Australian law enforcement agencies, before, at and after the border."

For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services, call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.

Media enquiries

AFP National Media (02) 5126 9297

Australian Border Force (02) 6264 2244

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2018-19

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

Platypus Online: Read. Discover. Enjoy.