A SYDNEY man has been arrested for his role in facilitating a 240-kilogram haul of methamphetamine that was bound of Australia in a shipping container.
Hong Kong authorities seized the drugs on 12 July 2023 after they found it hidden in large rolls of fabric in a consignment slated for export to Sydney.
The Hong Kong Customs and Excise (HKCE) agency consulted Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force liaison officers in Hong Kong, beginning a joint investigation.
HKCE substituted the methamphetamine with an inert substance and allowed the shipment to progress to Australia.
The container and its contents arrived in Australia via sea cargo on 12 August and after being processed through the ABF’s Container Examination Facility.
It was sent onto an address in Silverwater, western Sydney in a controlled delivery on Wednesday 23 August.
Police will allege four men were observed unpacking the container before AFP officers entered the premises to execute a search warrant.
The 28-year old Sydney man was arrested for his alleged role in co-ordinating the importation of the consignment, renting the Silverwater delivery address and organising for it to be unpacked.
Three other men, aged 44, 46 and 71, were arrested in Hong Kong for their suspected involvement in the venture. They have been released by Hong Kong authorities, pending further enquiries.
ABF Superintendent Elke West said Australia was a lucrative destination for illicit drugs, and while detections at the border have increased, taking the fight offshore with international partners was an important strategy.
“We are delivering a series of coordinated strikes on organised crime syndicates at a global level and this detection demonstrates how effective this can be,” Supt West said.
“The ABF will continue to work hand in glove with our law enforcement partners in Australia and globally to ensure methamphetamine, and other illicit drugs, do not cross our border and cause harm in our community.
“The Australian border is, and will continue to be, a hostile operating environment for criminals.”
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Jeremy Staunton said international partnerships developed by the AFP could have tangible benefits for the Australian community.
“The AFP is uniquely placed to work with our international partners on transnational investigations, where we can stop shipments like this from reaching Australia and arresting people involved at multiple points of the supply chain, crippling the ability of organised crime groups to operate.”
The Sydney man is expected to face Downing Centre Local Court on 1 November 2023. The maximum penalty of his offences is life imprisonment.
The AFP has officers stationed in 32 countries across the world as part of its International Command, working alongside law enforcement agencies on the ground and sharing intelligence.
Inquiries into the criminal syndicate responsible for the consignment remain ongoing both within Australia and internationally.