FOUR men have been jailed over a containerised shipment of heroin that arrived at Fremantle in 2021.

The consignment arrived from Malaysia in May that year, in a shipment of industrial kitchen equipment. Authorities still claim the 77-kilogram haul is one of the largest heroin seizures in Western Australia’s history.

Details of the case can now be released publicly, after the fourth man was sentenced and suppression orders were lifted covering court hearings relating to the rest of the group.

In 2021 a multi-agency drug trafficking investigation started after information was provided by the Australian Border Force, which works with the Australian Federal Police’s International Command to focus on offshore serious organised crime groups targeting Australia.

When ABF officers searched the consignment they found 220 blocks of heroin hidden in the cavities of the two pieces of kitchen equipment.

The AFP replaced the illicit drugs with a harmless substance before the consignment was delivered as addressed to a business premises in the Perth southern suburb of Bibra Lake on 1 June 2021.

Wooden crates containing the equipment with the substituted packages sat inside the warehouse unopened for a week, while the business was open and operating.

Authorities had the premises under surveillance when three men arrived on 8 June, opened the containers, transferred the packages into duffel bags, loaded them into their vehicle and drove away. Police intercepted the vehicle and found the bags containing the substituted packages on the back seat.

Four men have been jailed in WA over the 2021 incident, including a father and son, then 47 and 25, who called police about the importation as part of “a failed ruse” to avoid arrest, authorities said.

The men have been sentenced to imprisonment for between eight and 12 years each.

AFP Commander Graeme Marshall said three of the convicted men will now spend at least seven years in prison each before being eligible to apply for parole, while the fourth will be in custody for at least five years.

“We hope the outcomes in this matter send a strong message that the AFP and our partners are working tirelessly to identify and stop criminals from importing drugs into Australia and exploiting our communities,” he said.

A fifth man was also arrested and charged in June 2021, but the CDPP discontinued the charges against him in October 2022.