AUSTRALIAN authorities have announced they intercepted and seized more than 700 drug consignments sent in air and sea freight this year.

The Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police said they disrupted 702 shipments between 1 January and 18 November.

They highlighted the creativity of some organised criminal syndicates’ attempts to import drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.

The ABF and AFP recalled a recent drug haul sent in shipping containers declared to container rat poison and insecticide.

The two containers were intercepted at Port Botany and were found to contain around 550 kilograms of cocaine each.

Authorities also reported a trend in attempts to import illicit substances with timber pallets.

In one instance, a Brisbane man was arrested after 83 kilograms of methamphetamine was found inside hollowed-out timber pallets in a shipping container in February.

The ABF and AFP said they have also found illicit drugs concealed in juke boxes, mini barbeque meat smokers, pens and magnets.

In February, authorities uncovered two kilograms of cocaine concealed in a consignment of ponchos and bikinis sent from South America to Perth. The cocaine was allegedly embedded in the fibres of the clothing.

And also, an alleged criminal syndicate attempted to import 66 kilograms of cocaine into Perth in a shipment of Mercedes-Benz tyres sent from Switzerland.

ABF Commander James Copeman said officers target drug consignments at the border drug consignments using intelligence ad sophisticated technology.

“There have been some significant detections throughout 2022, but this is a marathon, not a sprint and we remain focused on disrupting any attempt by criminal syndicates to make money off the misery and harm these drugs cause in our community,” he said.

AFP Commander Kate Ferry said Australia is unfortunately an attractive market for transnational criminal syndicates.

“The AFP and our state and Commonwealth law enforcement partners are under no illusions over the lengths criminals will go to in their attempts evolve their concealment methods in order to import harmful drugs into our country.”