$275m worth of ice seized

Shipping container of ice

Eight people have been charged after 275 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine worth hundreds of millions of dollars was uncovered in three shipping containers from China delivered to an industrial estate in Melbourne’s outer-east.The drugs were found under the floorboards of the containers sent to the estate in Bayswater last week following a four-month investigation involving customs, Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police.

Border Force received information from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission about a number of high-risk containers being shipped from China to Australia.

A search of the containers by the AFP revealed the massive ice haul hidden underneath the shipment of metal pallets, but officers then substituted the drugs.

The drugs were hidden in the floor of the container

The goods were later delivered to the industrial estate, and the arrests were made.

Police said the accused men, including a Malaysian citizen, were all aged between 24 and 34 and were charged with drug importation and trafficking offences.

Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney from the AFP said investigators identified and searched the containers when they arrived in Australia, but arrested the group once they were delivered.

“This was smart policing. Proactive intelligence targeting, identifying international money flows, we were able to identify the syndicate,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana from Victoria Police said the harm the drugs could have caused was “enormous”.

“When you think about it, 275 kilos of methamphetamine that we’ve taken from the streets, that’s over two million … shots, or points, or people that could be using it,’ Assistant Commissioner Fontana said.

“You think of the misery that causes in the community in terms of road trauma, family violence, violence in our streets, crime, and addiction and harm to families.”

The drugs had a street value of $275 million, police said, adding that the haul was the biggest seizure of ice in the state this year.

Assistant Commissioner McCartney said a joint taskforce was set up last year with authorities in southern China targeting crime, particularly ice.

Police said “following the money trail” was the key to tracking down the international syndicate.

source: abc.net.au and border.gov.au