Three charged after methylamphetamine and cocaine worth more than $150 million seized

Image of seized bags of drugs

This is a joint media release with NSW Police, Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force.

PLEASE NOTE: Images of the seized drugs are available via Hightail.

Detectives have charged three men following a joint investigation into the alleged importation into Sydney of methamphetamine and cocaine worth more than $150 million.

In June this year, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad, in partnership with Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC), established Strike Force Wullamulla to investigate the importation of illicit drugs into NSW.

Acting on information from US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) and with the assistance of Australian Border Force (ABF), officers targeted a shipment which arrived in Sydney from the United States last month.

During a subsequent deconstruction, it was found to contain 230kg of methylamphetamine and 1.2kg of cocaine concealed within machinery.

The drugs have a combined estimated potential street value of more than $150 million.

Strike Force Wullamulla investigators, with assistance from AFP and ABF, subsequently conducted a controlled delivery to a Prestons business last Saturday (2 July 2022).

Later that day, two men – aged 21 and 22 – were arrested as they allegedly attempted to access the consignment with an angle grinder.

They were taken to Merrylands Police Station and charged with possess commercial quantity suspect illegal import border control drug and possess marketable quantity suspect import border-controlled drug.

Both men were refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Bail Court the following day, where they were formally refused bail to reappear at the same court on Thursday 25 August 2022.

Following further inquiries, strike force detectives – with the assistance of Public Order Riot Squad (PORS) – executed a search warrant at a hotel in Cabramatta and a business in Prestons from 2pm on Thursday (7 July 2022).

During subsequent searches, police located and seized electronics, cash, and other items relevant to investigations for forensic analysis.

A 41-year-old man was arrested at the hotel and taken to Fairfield Police Station, where he was charged with import commercial quantity of border-controlled drug and import marketable quantity of border-controlled drug.

The man was refused bail and appeared at Fairfield Local Court yesterday (Friday 8 July 2022).

Organised Crime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow, said the import was intercepted as a result of robust police work spanning both hemispheres.

“Our relationships with law enforcement partners both here and overseas means we can easily identify and dismantle these types of syndicates regardless of where the drugs originated,” Det Supt Critchlow said.

“We’ll continue to work closely and slash the profits of those involved in organised criminal activity, putting those responsible before a court and preventing these harmful drugs from reaching our borders.”

AFP Acting Superintendent Morgen Blunden said the AFP and its partners would continue to pursue organised crime groups and disrupt their illegal activities at every level.

“The AFP is committed to protecting the community from harmful drugs and working closely with its law enforcement partners to stop the tide of methamphetamine and cocaine coming into Australia,” Det-Acting Superintendent Blunden said.

ABF Acting Commander Elke West emphasised the importance of inter-agency cooperation in combatting importations of border-controlled drugs such as cocaine and methylamphetamine.

“The ABF will continue to support and work collaboratively with all law enforcement agencies in Australia and offshore. These arrests demonstrate that strong partnerships can effectively prevent and disrupt organised crime syndicates attempting to import illicit substances into Australia,” Acting Commander West said.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

Media enquiries
NSW Police Media: (02) 8263 6100
AFP National Media: (02) 6131 6333
ABF Media: (02) 6264 2211

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

Policing and community news from the AFP