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Australia's largest seizure of 'ice' recorded after additional tonne detected in sea cargo

Friday, 26 August 2022 10:32:32 AM

A further tonne of methylamphetamine has been seized as part of ongoing investigations by the Drug and Firearms Squad into the largest detection of the drug at the Australian border.

Earlier this year, detectives attached to the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad commenced Strike Force Chellington to investigate the importation of illicit drugs into NSW.

Acting on intelligence, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers examined a number of sea cargo containers, which had arrived into Port Botany last month.

During a subsequent deconstruction of the consignment, it was found to contain 748kg of methylamphetamine concealed within marble stone.

Strike force investigators seized the drugs and commenced further investigations, which resulted in the arrest and charge of three men – aged 24, 26 and 34. They remain before the courts.

As part of ongoing inquiries, ABF officers examined an additional number of containers, which arrived via sea cargo at Port Botany last week.

Specialist officers deconstructed the consignment and located 1060kg of methylamphetamine concealed in the same marble stone method.

In total, more than 1800kg of ‘ice’ – which has an estimated potential street value of more than $1.6 billion – has been detected and seized during this investigation.

Further forensic analysis will be undertaken and investigations under Strike Force Chellington continue – in conjunction with ABF and the Australian Federal Police.

No charges have been laid in relation to the additional consignment.

State Crime Command Acting Director of Operations, Detective Chief Superintendent John Watson, said police are continuing to investigate activities of the syndicate, with further arrests not ruled out.

“We will allege this syndicate was extremely well connected in several corners of the globe,” Det Ch Supt Watson said.

“The fact that we have seized a further tonne – potentially ten million street deals – of this insidious drug just shows how little regard these types of groups have for the wellbeing of the community.

“Combined with the seizure from earlier this month, NSW Police and ABF officers have stopped more than 1.8 tonnes of ‘ice’ at the border – this is now the largest ‘ice’ bust in Australian history.

“It’s once again proof that through the collaboration of all our partner law enforcement agencies, we will continue to stop this dangerous drug from hitting our streets,” Det Ch Supt Watson said.

ABF Assistant Commissioner East, Erin Dale, said the detections exemplify the capability and diligence of ABF officers in protecting the Australian community.

“Our officers are highly trained and continue to demonstrate their skills when it comes to detecting the importation of illicit drugs, no matter what method of concealment the organised crime groups use,” Assistant Commissioner Dale said.

“The audacity of these individuals to think they could import such vast quantities of harmful drugs into Australia is astounding. Let’s be clear: this is the largest seizure of methylamphetamine at the Australian border and therefore a massive blow to organised criminals.

“ABF’s continued work with law enforcement partners ensures the Australian community is kept safe from the importation of dangerous drugs.”

AFP Commander Investigations Eastern Command Kate Ferry said international links to this seizure would be a focus for AFP investigators.

“The AFP will continue to work in close collaboration with the NSW Police Force and our international partners to track down those who have organised this shipment to Australia.”

Anyone with information about the importation and supply of prohibited drugs 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.