IN A joint release from the Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police, details have been provided of charges brought against an Adelaide man over an alleged plot to import 20 kilograms of cocaine – with an estimated street value of $20m – into South Australia from Greece.

The man was arrested on 8 September after AFP and ABF officers executed search warrants at two inner-city Adelaide properties.

A joint agency investigation was launched last week after ABF officers in South Australia selected an air cargo consignment labelled as ‘welding’ for examination.

A wooden crate containing two welding machines was X-rayed, with anomalies revealed in both.

ABF officers removed a panel from one piece of machinery and found an electronic safe.

Inside the safe was nine rectangular packages which allegedly contained a white powder, with tests returning a presumptive positive result to cocaine.

AFP officers were called in and dismantled the second welder, where they found another safe with nine similar packages stored inside.

Forensic tests by the AFP have confirmed the 18 seized packages contain a total of approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine.

This equates to about 20,000 ‘street level’ deals of cocaine, which police say can currently be sold for about $5m wholesale, and which has an approximate ‘street value’ of $20m.

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ABF chief superintendent in SA, Brett Liebich, said supply chain integrity was a key priority for the ABF.

“Air cargo volumes have increased during the pandemic but so has our capacity to screen inbound consignments,” chief superintendent Liebich said.

“We have surged officers to the air and sea cargo streams to protect the border.

“And our officers are alert to the many creative ways criminals attempt to import their illicit cargoes.

“This is another example of the strong working relationship between the ABF and AFP in keeping the community safe from harmful drugs.”

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