Police operation leads to Australia’s largest ever meth bust

Police have seized Australia’s largest haul of methamphetamine to date, with the seizure of almost 903 kilograms of the drug in Melbourne’s east.

Two men have been charged for their alleged role in trafficking the drugs, which have an estimated street value of $898 million.

In January 2017, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) provided intelligence to Victoria Police Clandestine Laboratory Squad about a makeshift facility operating in Box Hill.

As a result, AFP and Victoria Police Clandestine Laboratory Squad detectives conducted 12 search warrants in the Blackburn North, Blackburn South, Box Hill North and Doncaster.

These searches resulted in the discovery of approximately 40 kilograms of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, $140,000 in cash, and 175,000 contraband cigarettes.

AFP officers conducted a search warrant on a warehouse on Norcal Road in Nunawading, where they located 70 boxes of wooden floorboards. The floorboards were forensically deconstructed and each was found to contain approximately two kilograms of crystal methamphetamine. The total weight of crystal methamphetamine seized was 862.9 kilograms.

A further $5 million worth of property – including industrial and residential buildings, motor vehicles and cash – was restrained at this time under provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In total, approximately 903 kilograms of methamphetamine has been seized as a result of this operation. Further forensic testing is being conducted to determine the exact weight and purity of the drugs.

Police have arrested a 53-year-old Blackburn man and a 36-year-old Doncaster man. Both have been charged with trafficking a large commercial quantity of methamphetamine, contrary to section 71 of the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic). The two men face life imprisonment if found guilty.

The investigation remains ongoing and Victoria Police Clandestine Laboratory Squad detectives are hoping to identify two men who may be able to assist with their enquiries.

Investigators have released images of the two men who are believed to be aged in their 30s, Asian in appearance, and may frequent the Box Hill area.

Detectives have also released an image of a white Nissan coupe and are hoping to identify the owner of the vehicle, which was seen parked outside the warehouse in Nunawading.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, National Manager Organised Crime and Cyber, said investigations were continuing in Australia and overseas through the AFP’s International Network, and further arrests were expected.

“Police are best-placed to stem the supply of illicit drugs by targeting organised crime syndicates,” Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

“Our law enforcement effort is coordinated with the health and education sectors, who are focused on demand reduction.”

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Crime Command Stephen Fontana said this was a significant seizure, and a great result of the continuing work by Victoria Police members with their partner agencies.

“As long as there is demand, there will be a market and we need to stop the cycle which affects the entire community,” Assistant Commissioner Fontana said.

Note for editors:
Footage and stills of this operation are available to be downloaded here:

 

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