IRONSIDE: Four NSW men arrested, $288 million worth of methamphetamine seized

Four NSW men arrested, $288 million worth of methamphetamine seized.

Editor’s note: Photographs of importation available via Hightail

Four NSW men have been charged under Operation Ironside as part of a syndicate responsible for trafficking and importing methamphetamine, with 461 kilograms of methamphetamine seized.

In April 2021 the Australian Federal Police (AFP) commenced an investigation targeting a transnational serious and organised crime syndicate involved in drug importation and drug trafficking.

On 12 May 2021, following intelligence from AFP Operation Ironside, AFP officers with the assistance of NSW Police Force Drug and Firearm Squad executed a search warrant at a property in Doyalson, NSW. During the search warrant, AFP Forensics Imagery and Geomatics located a hydraulic void hidden beneath the tray of an unregistered truck located on the property. Inside the void, police located several bags containing approximately 20kg of methamphetamine.

The next day (13 May 2021), police executed a search warrant at a premises in Seven Hills, NSW, where police located two large duffle bags containing approximately 23kg of methamphetamine hidden in a roof cavity.

Following the execution of these search warrants a 36-year-old Roselands man and a 35-year-old Central Coast man were arrested and charged with:

  • Trafficking a commercial quantity of controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine, contrary to subsection 302.2 of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

The men are next due to appear at Central Local Court on 4 August 2021.

As part of Operation Ironside investigations, police uncovered a number of interconnected syndicates allegedly linked to the trafficking and importation of methamphetamine.

On 7 June 2021, a 39-year-old Bardia man was arrested as part of Operation Ironside East-Rega suspected of being the onshore controller of a criminal syndicate in Australia. He was charged with allegedly directing activities of a criminal organisation and importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drugs. Police will allege the same man was also part of a separate syndicate organising to import a further 418kg of methamphetamine into Australia.

On 5 June 2021, a consignment allegedly organised by the syndicate arrived via a freight ship into Brisbane, where it was examined by AFP and Australian Border Force (ABF) personnel. The consignment consisted of a hydraulic press and a large industrial gearbox. An examination of the gearbox located 96 individual packages containing a white crystalline substance which tested positive to methamphetamine. The total approximate weight of the packages was 195kg. An examination of the hydraulic press revealed 52 individual packages of a similar substance, with a total weight of approximately 223kg.

The total weight of the methamphetamine concealed in both items was approximately 418kg.

As a result of further investigations into the alleged organisers of the import, police executed a search warrant a premises in Erina Heights on the NSW Central Coast on 7 June 2021. Police located and seized approximately $47,000 in cash, including $40,000 hidden inside a shoebox in a wardrobe.

Following the search warrant a 37-year-old Erina Heights man was arrested and charged with:

  • entering into an agreement to import a substance, the substance being a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, and the quantity imported being a commercial quantity, contrary to sub-sections 11.2A(1) and 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

The 39-year-old man from Bardia, who had previously been arrested under Operation Rega, was further charged with:

  • entering into an agreement to import a substance, the substance being a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, and the quantity imported being a commercial quantity, contrary to sub-sections 11.2A(1) and 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code.

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

The men are next due to appear at Central Local Court on 4 August 2021.

AFP Detective Acting Inspector Luke Wilson said Operation Ironside has prevented a significant amount of illicit drugs from entering Australia and damaging the community.

“The AFP has been successful in keeping these drugs off the streets through the continued collaborations with our partners,” said Detective Acting Inspector Wilson.

QLD ABF Acting Regional Commander Joanne Churchill praised the joint agency collaboration which included the comprehensive detection expertise and skills of ABF officers.

“Our officers are highly trained to detect illegal import attempts. They work very closely with our partner agencies such as the AFP to ensure we are combatting the scourge of illegal drugs and the harm it poses to the Australian community,” Acting Regional Commander Churchill said.

NSW Police Force Drug and Firearms Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent John Watson, said police will continue to target those involved in drug supply on all levels across the state.

“These investigations highlight the benefits of inter-agency collaboration, which combine the strengths of law enforcement and work towards safeguarding the community,” Det Supt Watson said.

Media enquiries

  • AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297
  • ABF Media (02) 6264 2244

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2019-20

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

Platypus Online: Read. Discover. Enjoy.