500kg crystal MDMA found

Two Chinese men have been charged after Australian Federal Police (AFP) seized enough illegal drugs to make up to 1.7 million ecstasy tablets.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) last month found more than 500 kilograms of crystal MDMA — used to make ecstasy — hidden inside aluminium rolls that were shipped into Sydney’s Port Botany from Italy.

They called the AFP who tracked the consignment to its final destination, a storage facility in Miranda in Sydney’s south, where they arrested two Chinese nationals on Sunday.

“This is the equivalent of 1.7 million tablets of MDMA and has an estimated street value of $60 million,” AFP Acting Commander Brett James said.

“If the accused men are found guilty, they face the prospect of life in prison.”

This latest example is the fifth largest seizure, and the ABF said the criminals involved worked hard to conceal the drugs.

“The container was loaded at the Port of Genoa in Italy, and the goods that were declared were aluminium rolls — 20 pallets of aluminum rolls,” ABF regional commander Tim Fitzgerald.

“ABF officers used specialist equipment that revealed an inner cylinder within the rolls. The inner cylinder was lined with lead. “One of the inner cylinders was found to contain 13.5 kilograms of MDMA.”

Mr Fitzgerald said 40 of the 200 aluminium rolls had MDMA hidden inside them.

“The global criminal environment today is complex and borderless, and organised criminal syndicates will stop at nothing to exploit the demand for illicit drugs in Australia,” Det. Supt James said.

“We will continue countering the illegal activities of these groups with intelligence, innovation, and collaboration with our domestic and international counterparts. I congratulate all those involved in disrupting this criminal syndicate.”