Operation Nightbird

Two Taiwanese men are scheduled to appear before the Sydney Central Local Court this morning (Thursday 24 September) charged with importing approximately 50 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in packaging equipment.

The operation, code-named Operation Nightbird, began on Wednesday 9 September, when Australian Border Force (ABF) officers at the Sydney container examination facility examined a consignment from China.

The shipment consisted of three pallets comprising of 112 metal rollers forming part of a packaging machine.

During the examination, ABF officers found a suspicious white crystalline substance within one of the metal rollers. Further examination revealed the consignment was estimated to contain approximately 50 kilograms of methamphetamine.

The matter was subsequently referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for investigation.

On Tuesday 15 September, the AFP commenced a controlled delivery of the consignment to a residential address in Ashfield.

After further investigation, AFP officers searched a storage facility and arrested a 34-year-old Sydney man and a 33-year-old Chippendale man. It will be alleged in court these men were key facilitators and organisers for the syndicate.

An additional 20 kilograms of methamphetamine was seized by the AFP at a Broadway property occupied by one of the men. Investigations are continuing and further charges are likely to be laid as a result.

70 kilograms of methamphetamine has the potential street value of up to $47 million.

Both men were charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), and one count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawful imported border controlled drug namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

AFP Manager Crime Operations Paul Osborne said this seizure is yet another example that the demand for Ice within Australia is continuing.

“We have seen the wide ranging harmful impacts these types of drugs have on families, police, paramedics, health workers, and our community,” Commander Osborne said.

“Working with our partner agencies to stop the flow of this drug reaching our shores is one step in targeting this drug scourge, but as a society, we need to work together to address the demand for these substances.”

ABF Commander Operations Strategic Border Command, Mark Antill, said the ABF works with law enforcement partners, domestically and internationally to combat transnational organised crime.

“This seizure is a demonstration of the effectiveness of our partnerships, employing advanced technical and analytical capabilities to prevent illicit drugs such as methamphetamine reaching the streets of Australia,” Commander Antill said.

Investigations remain ongoing and further charges are likely.

Source and credit: Australian Border Force