Police seize 69 kilograms of illegal drugs concealed in tea

Editor’s note: Pictures of seizure are available for download.

More than $55 million worth of drugs have been seized, after 56 kilograms of methamphetamine and 13 kilograms of heroin were identified in a consignment of green tea and magnets from Thailand.

The Australian Federal Police has launched an investigation this week, after Australian Border Force (ABF) uncovered the illegal import.

ABF officers in Melbourne x-rayed a consignment containing 27 boxes of magnets and tea products sent via air cargo from Thailand on 19 February. The x-rays indicated anomalies and further examination identified substances that presumptively tested positive to methamphetamine and heroin.

If it reached Australian streets, this amount of methamphetamine could have been sold to approximately 560,000 people as street level deals, with a total estimated value of up to $50.4 million dollars. The heroin could have been sold to approximately 65,000 people as street level deals with a total estimated street value of up to $5.5 million dollars.

Investigations remain ongoing and arrests are expected.

AFP Commander Raegan Stewart said the seizure demonstrated how drug smugglers used any product and method to import drugs into Australia.

“The AFP, with partner agencies, is one step ahead and is unleashing maximum damage on the criminal environment,” Commander Stewart said.

“Drugs and drug abuse have severe consequences for the Australian community. Those with illicit substances in their system are unpredictable and it’s not just their health they are putting at risk, but those around them.

“Behind the wheel, motorists with illicit drugs in their system are a danger to every driver on the road.

“And too many first responders, paramedics, nurses and police, have seen first-hand the danger of dealing with a person with illicit drugs in their system.

“Drug use is not a victimless crime.”

ABF Commander Aviation and Regional Operations South, Chris Holzheimer, said the significant discovery was a great result for law enforcement and is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the officers of the ABF.

“The ABF are detecting large quantities of illicit substances coming into Australia on a daily basis,” Commander Holzheimer said.

“Criminals will try to hide illicit substances in a variety of creative ways, however our well-trained officers have many detection methods at their disposal with officer intuition and use of innovative technology often the driving factor for further examination of many consignments.”

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Note to media:

Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.

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

Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at www.counsellingonline.org

Media enquiries

  • AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297
  • ABF Media: (02) 6264 2211

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