Caught before the horse bolted

Eleven kilograms of methamphetamine have been discovered in horse statues that were bound for a Melbourne address.

Four men have been arrested and subsequently charged following this three month investigation which began in November 2015.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) intercepted a shipment of ornamental horse statues that were bound for an address in Broadmeadows, VIC.  The ABF carried out an Inspections of the cargo to discover that they were allegedly filled with 10.9kgs of methamphetamine.

Poor horse never saw it coming…

A controlled delivery of the statues was carried out with three persons of interest being identified.

After further enquiries, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers identified a fourth person of interest, a 30-year-old Sierra Leone man – who is alleged to be the organiser of the importation in the horse statues.

Police also uncovered alleged links between this person and a 2.4 kilogram methamphetamine importation in November 2015.

It will be alleged that these four men were operating a drug syndicate and can be linked to other methamphetamine seizures in the Melbourne area, including a further 1.5 kilogram methamphetamine seizure last year.

AFP Superintendent Matt Warren, Coordinator of Crime Operations Victoria, said today’s arrests have effectively shut down a sophisticated drug ring.

“We will allege this group of men attempted to use scatter methods to import drugs into Victoria,” Superintendent Warren said.

“These arrests are particularly significant given we have managed to charge the alleged organiser of this drug syndicate, which will stop countless more attempts to import this horrendous drug.”

ABF Superintendent Michael Lewis, Maritime Operations, said the amount of harm these drugs could have caused the community cannot be understated.

“This operation is another example of the excellent work our officers undertake every day. We are very pleased with the results of the operation and are confident our efforts have significantly reduced the amount of drugs being supplied here in Melbourne,” Superintendent Lewis said.

The maximum penalty for commonwealth importation offences is life imprisonment.

Image / Source credit: AFP / ABF