MDMA found in air freight shipment

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested three men in Sydney yesterday, following the seizure of approximately 140 kilograms of MDMA in Sydney last week.

The operation began on Wednesday, 21 March 2018, when Australian Border Force (ABF) officers examined a consignment containing eight boxes of water filters, after it arrived into Sydney Airport via air cargo from the Netherlands.

The consignment contained a total of 48 aluminium cylinders. One of the filters was drilled and a white crystalline substance was tested, returning a presumptive positive result for MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy.

It is estimated this quantity of MDMA could have a potential street value of up to $56 million.

The matter was referred to the AFP for further investigation, resulting in two search warrants that were executed yesterday (Wednesday, 28 March 2018) in the Sydney suburb of Strathfield. This investigation remains ongoing.

During the search warrants, officers seized encrypted devices and false identity documents.

Three Australian men, aged 19, 20 and 22, were subsequently arrested and charged with the importation of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug and the attempted possession of a border controlled drug. The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, National Manager Organised Crime, said the seizure would deliver a significant impact to the overseas syndicate who arranged the supply.

“Our enquiries into the exact source of the drugs remain ongoing, and we will continue to work closely with our overseas partners to target the criminal syndicates behind this importation, and attack the links they have to Australia,” Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

Acting ABF Regional Commander NSW Matt O’Connor said this seizure shows ABF frontline operations are equipped and capable to detect the most sophisticated methods of concealment.

“The ABF continues to play a vital role in protecting the Australian community from illicit and dangerous drugs and this outcome shows we have all border entry points covered,” said Acting Commander O’Connor.

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