AN AIR freight consignment of candles from the US formed part of an international drug trafficking effort, Australian authorities say.
Eight people have been charged and 61kg of illicit substances seized after a joint agency investigation targeting border-controlled drugs, carried by passengers and hidden in air freight.
A 37-year-old American was charged in November last year after allegedly attempting to import 13 kilograms of methylamphetamine into Sydney Airport hidden in boxes of children’s toys.
She had arrived in Australian on a flight from San Francisco.
On 31 May this year, a 59-year-old US national arrived at Sydney Airport on a flight from Los Angeles where he was searched by ABF officers.
A small wooden box was found inside his suitcase which was found to be carrying about two kilos of cocaine.
He was charged by AFP officers at Sydney Airport.
On 28 May, an international freight consignment declared to contain candles was intercepted in Los Angeles.
The consignment was taken apart where 2.4kg of cocaine was found and seized.
Detectives later arrested a 66-year-old man at a home in the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta West just after 12.30pm Tuesday 4 June.
Police searched the home and seized mobile phones and documents.
The man, an airport shuttle driver, was taken to Fairfield Police Station and charged with attempting to import the border-controlled drug.
He was denied bail and is set to appear at Liverpool Local Court this week.
According to Australian Border Force, a further five people have been arrested offshore from this operation, and multiple air cargo consignments have been stopped by our overseas partners before they could reach Australia.
In total, 17kg of cocaine and 44kg of methylamphetamine has been seized.
The ABF has estimated the 17kg of cocaine as having an estimated street value of $5.1m, and the 44kg of methylamphetamine has an estimated street value of $13.2m.
Anyone with information about drug imports can refer it to the Australian Border Force.