An $80 million shipment of methamphetamine hidden in generators was the result of ‘unusual’ co-operation between Mexican and West African organised crime gangs, the Australian Federal Police says.
Four people have been arrested after federal police seized the 140kg shipment, with three of the four charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
The three charged people include a 60-year-old Nigerian-American, a 45-year-old Nigerian-Mexican and a 48-year-old Nigerian-Australian.
They were to face Parramatta Local Court on Saturday.
The fourth person, a 35-year-old Nigerian-Australian, was expected to be charged later on Saturday.
AFP NSW state manager Chris Sheehan said the ‘tyranny of distance’ no longer worked in law enforcement’s favour as international transportation and networking became increasingly simple.
‘This is a case of Mexican organised crime co-operating with West African organised crime in a global syndicate supplying large, commercial-scale quantities of methamphetamine,’ Mr Sheehan said.
‘From an AFP perspective, the teamwork between these two global organised crime syndicates is unusual.’
Mr Sheehan said the seizure began in March, when two Mexican sea cargo containers were intercepted by the Australian Border Force in Sydney.
Inside the containers were 11 diesel generators found to be concealing crystal meth.
The AFP then traced the delivery to a warehouse in the western Sydney suburb of Rossmore before making their arrests.
‘They have gone to great lengths to defeat or circumvent our activities at the border, (but) in this instance they haven’t been able to do that,’ said Border Force NSW regional commander Tim Fitzgerald.
Mr Sheehan said federal police suspected the Mexican and West African syndicates were working together to supply outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia.
He said it wasn’t the first time they had co-operated to carry out shipments, and wouldn’t rule out further arrests.
‘This is not the first large-scale importation we believe these syndicates have been involved in,’ Mr Sheehan said.
He said the size of the seizure was an indication organised crime still sought Australian drug users and the high prices they were willing to pay.