A JOINT media release between the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Victoria Police and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, states that a 33-year-old man from New South Wales has been charged over the April 2019 seizure of methamphetamine.
The seizure involved 200 kilograms of methamphetamine imported into Melbourne from Canada.
Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce investigators arrested the man at his home on the NSW Central Coast last Wednesday (25 November 2020) and have charged him with organising the drug importation, which had an estimated street value of $150m.
Police will allege the man headed a syndicate that ‘piggybacked’ off a legitimate Melbourne-based whitegoods company in a bid to avoid law enforcement scrutiny of the illicit air cargo consignment.
ABF officers examined the consignment when it arrived in Melbourne in 2019 and found that the black plastic-wrapped cardboard boxes contained no whitegoods, only bags of high purity methamphetamine.
Victorian JOCTF launched Operation Caerus-Braint in April 2019. It uncovered that a criminal syndicate based on the NSW Central Coast was allegedly responsible for the importation. Authorities suspect the group is also responsible for other smaller air cargo and mail consignments of methamphetamine from multiple countries, including Germany and Canada, which have been seized by authorities.
Police believe the Melbourne whitegoods company was not aware that its name was being used and is not involved in the illicit importations.
The 33-year-old, allegedly linked to the NSW Central Coast crime syndicate during the investigation, was charged after Victorian JOCTF investigators executed a search warrant at his Woongarrah home.
Police seized more than $100,000 in cash, a large number of mobile telephone devices and electronic devices, a large amount of false identification material linked to the importations, a money counting machine and a quantity of steroids.
It was one of nine search warrants executed at homes and storage facilities in Sydney and the Central Coast last week (25 and 26 November 2020) as part of the investigation.
The 33-year-old man faced Wyong Court on 25 November 2020 for importing commercial quantities of methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
He is expected back in court on 19 January 2021 and faces a potential maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted.