A 37-year-old year Newcastle man was due to face Sydney Central Local Court on 26 May, charged with importing 230kg of methamphetamine following a joint police investigation.

A joint release from the Australian Federal Police, New South Wales Police Force, Australian Border Force and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, confirmed that authorities began the investigation in April into an Australian company importing helical gear drives.

Two shipments containing helical gear drives from the Republic of Korea were examined at the Australian Border Force Containers Examination Facility in Sydney in May. The first shipment was found to contain 140kg of methamphetamine and the second shipment contained 90kg of methamphetamine. In both shipments, the methamphetamine was concealed within the helical gear drives.

The 230 kilograms of methamphetamine has an estimated street value of approximately $143,750,000.

The Newcastle man was arrested on 22 May, charged with importing, a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

Detective Acting Inspector Luke Wilson said criminals should be aware police are using data analysis to expose companies undertaking illicit activities.

“This operation should send a strong warning to criminals that if you engage in illegal activities, the AFP will catch, arrest and prosecute you,” Detective Acting Inspector Wilson said.

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ABF maritime and detained goods Superintendent Graeme Campbell says this operation highlights the strong results that can be achieved when Australia’s law enforcement agencies work together.

“This is a clever concealment, with large quantities of dangerous drugs hidden behind a thick layer of steel,” Superintendent Campbell said.

“But the combination of information sharing with our partners, and the ABF’s technical capabilities, ensured these harmful drugs did not end up on Australia’s streets.”

For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.

Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at counsellingonline.org.au.

For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to turningpoint.org.au.

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