THREE men have been charged over the importation of almost 90 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in five shipments of futons into Sydney.
They were arrested as part of a six-month joint investigation into a criminal syndicate that allegedly worked to import the drugs.
Operation Hesperidium began in March 2023 after Australian Border Force officers examined a consignment of futons imported into Sydney from the United States.
ABF officers found 5.5 kilograms of meth in the consignment, and they found another 15 kilograms of meth two weeks later in a separate shipment of futons.
Australian Federal Police and ABF investigations in Australia assisted Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as it detected and seized a combined total of 68 kilograms of meth concealed in another three shipments of futons before they were exported from the US.
The three other shipments were destined for various Sydney addresses.
The AFP searched a property in Burwood on 2 May arresting and charging a 33-year-old man for his alleged role in facilitating the 15-kilogram consignment detected in Sydney in March 2023.
A second Burwood man, 23, was identified and arrested by the AFP on 6 June 2023 in connection to a separate consignment of 15 kilograms of methamphetamine seized by HSI and CBP.
A search warrant at the second man’s Burwood residence saw AFP officers seize a fraudulent driver’s licence, 20 kilograms of pseudoephedrine, 100 grams of cocaine and an encrypted electronic device.
A Waterloo man, 23, was arrested and charged on 5 September when AFP investigators searched his home. They believe he was attempting to import more than 8 kilograms of methamphetamine in one of the consignments of futons intercepted in the US.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Jeremy Staunton said the AFP works with international and domestic law enforcement partners to investigate and target drug traffickers.
“People who believe they can get away with importing drugs in relatively smaller quantities without any consequences need to think again,” Det A/Supt Staunton said.
“We share information on a regular basis, and our partners all around the world have shown they are willing to work with us to stop drugs ever reaching Australian shores.”
Acting ABF Superintendent Marc Rea said the outcome was an example of the successful partnership Australian authorities share with domestic and international law enforcement,
“I particularly congratulate the ABF officers who detected the initial shipment,” A/g Superintendent Rea said.
“These men won’t be sleeping softly tonight, and if proven guilty, will face the full consequences of their actions for attempting to import these dangerous substances into our community.”
All three men have been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of methamphetamine. These charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.