A SHIPPING container arriving in Sydney from Malaysia was found to contain a 200-kilogram shipment of crystal methamphetamine hidden inside machinery.
The Australian Border Force targeted the container on 21 April, examining and x-raying it at the Port Botany Container Examination Facility, finding the drugs concealed in two metal lathes.
Each one of the lathes was found to contain packages marked as tea that contained a crystalline white substance that presumptively tested positive to crystal methamphetamine.
The packages were then removed and substituted with another substance by members of a Joint Organised Crime Group (JOCG) investigation.
On Monday 7 May, the lathes were delivered to a warehouse in the Sydney suburb of Kingsgrove.
Two Taiwanese nationals, aged 22 and 29 were arrested on 9 May when they attempted to move the consignment to other locations. A 22-year-old Chinese national was arrested after he left the warehouse at a later stage.
JOCG members then raided three other addresses in the Sydney suburbs of Kingsgrove, Riverwood, and Strathfield.
All three men were charged with attempt to possess a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs, and the Chines man was also charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
ABF Regional Commander New South Wales, Danielle Yannopoulos, said organised criminal syndicates are using sophisticated smuggling methods in an attempt to evade ABF scrutiny, but officers have the expertise and technology to see through elaborate concealment attempts.
“This operation once again demonstrates the effectiveness of the ABFs ability to detect illicit drugs at the border and highlights the success of our collaborative approach to fighting organised crime,” she said.
AFP Detective Superintendent Stephen Dametto, coordinator organised crime, said investigations were ongoing regarding the source of the shipment.
“The simple fact is that you require links to organised crime to finance, acquire, transport and distribute 200 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, and we will continue our investigation into what those links are,” he said.
“Part of these ongoing enquiries will include the AFP’s international network to find out where this shipment of drugs originated and the extent that offshore organised crime groups were involved.”
The JOCG is a multiagency taskforce comprising members from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), Australian Border Force (ABF), Department of Home Affairs (DHA), NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).