TWO people have been arrested and 233 kilos of cocaine from Mexico has been seized, following an operation involving the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force.
Police say the amount of cocaine could have had a street value of up to$104.85m.
The operation began in September 2019, when ABF officers at the Sydney Container Examination Facility examined a consignment of aluminium alloy ingots from Mexico.
The consignment consisted of 18 pallets, each carrying 105 ingots.
ABF officers X-rayed the shipment noting anomalies and a subsequent examination revealed a white powder secreted within the aluminum ingots.
The concealment of the drugs, inside aluminum ingots, was said to be complex and well-constructed.
A joint investigation team identified two suspects who police allege were involved attempting to receive the consignment.
Authorities raided homes and vehicles in Auburn and Castle Hill, Sydney, with a 61-year-old UK citizen and a 49-year-old Auburn man arrested.
During the search at Auburn, police seized a small quantity of aluminum ingots, keys to a storage facility allegedly used to take delivery of the shipment, and electronic devices.
AFP Commander Kirsty Schofield, Manager Organised Crime, said the joint investigation would not have been possible without significant transnational cooperation.
“We are working closer than ever with Mexican authorities, with an AFP liaison officer working in country to ensure we can work at the source to stop the supply offshore,” Commander Schofield said.
ABF Commander Enforcement Command, Graeme Grosse, said the ABF and it’s federal, state and international law enforcement partners were awake to the many creative methods drug smugglers attempted to get their illicit cargo across the Australian border.
“We have the intelligence capability and the technology to find sophisticated concealments like this, no matter how professional they look,” Commander Grosse said.