A 2300kg plasma-cutting machine, typically used to cut electrically-conductive materials, was used to smuggle cocaine, authorities say.

Three men have been charged over attempts to import illegal drugs, after ABF officers in Sydney X-rayed a container in early June after it arrived from India.

Inside the container, ABF officers found a 2300kg plasma cutting machine, traditionally used to cut through electrically conductive materials.

Deconstruction of the machine revealed a metal cavity which contained a white powder. Testing returned a positive result for cocaine.

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AFP investigators conducted a further search and found 110 blocks of white powder hidden within four panels. A total of 55kg of cocaine was seized with an estimated street value of more than $20m.

AFP detective superintendent Ben McQuillan, coordinator organised crime said the seizure was a significant win.

“This seizure is equivalent to 5500 street deals which we have successfully stopped reaching the community,” Superintendent McQuillan said.

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