A 66-year-old Hong Kong national will appear in Sydney Central Local Court today (15 May 2015), charged with attempting to import approximately 150 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into Australia.
The operation began in late April 2015, when Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) officers searched a sea freight shipment sent to Australia from Hong Kong, declared to contain “chemicals”.
Upon examination of the shipment, ACBPS officers uncovered six barrels with a number of plastic bags secreted inside. A white crystalline substance was found inside each bag which returned a positive result for methamphetamine.
Further forensic testing will take place to determine exact weight and purity. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) was advised and an investigation commenced.
On Monday 11 May, the AFP conducted a controlled delivery of the consignment.
The drugs were substituted and delivered to an address in Epping, NSW, where police will allege in court they were accepted by the man.
The man was charged with:
- Importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
- Attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5 by virtue of section 11.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth).
AFP Manager Crime Operations Jennifer Hurst said the AFP was committed to working closely with partner agencies to prevent the importation of illicit drugs which threaten the health and safety of the community.
“This quantity of methamphetamine has a potential street value of up to $100 million,” Commander Hurst said.
“By working collaboratively with our partner agencies, we have successfully stopped a significant quantity of crystal methamphetamine reaching our streets.”
ACBPS Regional Commander NSW, Tim Fitzgerald, said that Customs and Border Protection Officers were always on alert for illicit shipments, and that increasingly elaborate concealments were no safeguard for gangs seeking to profit from the international drug trade.
“This is a significant detection and shows the lengths transnational gangs will go to in smuggling drugs into our country,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“Thanks to the skilled detection work of our officer at the border, these dangerous and illegal narcotics will not find their way into our community.”
The offences carry a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life, or a fine of $1,275,000, or both.