AUSTRALIAN Border Force officers discovered 490 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in a shipment of car bonnets that arrived at Port Botany from Malaysia.
During an examination on 28 November, ABF officers identified anomalies in three crates carrying dozens of car bonnets. The officers found a crystalline substance inside the skin of the bonnets, which was identified as methamphetamine.
The detection was referred to the Australian Federal Police, which identified 4970 packages within 71 car bonnets. The AFP estimates the value of the drugs to be $367m.
On Friday 7 December, the ABF raided addresses in the Sydney suburbs of Granville, Rhodes and Penshurst, arresting a 17-year-old man and a 19-year-old man.
It will be alleged in court that the two men were to receive the shipment before passing it on to other members of the criminal syndicate responsible for the importation.
Both men faced Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 8 December, charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
Further enquiries to identify other members of the syndicate are ongoing, and the AFP is liaising with the Royal Malaysia Police to identify the source of the shipment.
ABF Regional Commander NSW Danielle Yannopoulos said the detection demonstrated the expertise of ABF officers in locating illicit drugs – no matter how sophisticated the concealment.
“Whether it be in car bonnets, clothing, meat mincing machines or even highlighters – our officers have seen it all, and they have sophisticated technology at their disposal to identify these illicit substances no matter how criminals try to hide them,” Commander Yannopoulos said.
“Methamphetamine, or ice, has a devastating effect on the community every single day – and the ABF will not stop working to identify and prosecute those involved in attempting to import it into Australia.”
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Kristie Cressy, co-ordinator organised crime Sydney, said this amount of methamphetamine would have had significant impact on the community.
“Had this drug seizure made its way to Australian streets, countless lives would have been affected. It could be users, health care workers that deal with drug issues each and every day, or the family that has been torn apart when deaths occur from illicit substance abuse,” Acting Detective Superintendent Cressy said.
“Police know better than most the heartbreaking impact of drugs like ice on our community. In stopping almost half a tonne of these dangerous drugs reaching our streets, countless families and friends have been saved from being torn apart by illicit substance abuse”.