Two people have been arrested after an estimated $115 million worth of methamphetamine was allegedly found hidden inside timber logs in a sea cargo container that arrived in Australia from Africa.
Australian Border Force (ABF) officers detected 154 kilograms of the drug in 14 of the logs when the consignment arrived in Sydney in June, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said.
Packages were found in the timber, which had been sawn in half and then glued and nailed back together, the ABF said.
In July the cargo was delivered to addresses in Sunshine and Keilor Park in Melbourne, and on Wednesday two men were arrested after search warrants were carried out in Sydney and Melbourne.
A 64-year-old man from Werrington in Sydney was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border-controlled drug.
A 20-year-old man from Moonee Ponds in Melbourne was charged with attempting to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border-controlled drug.
The offences carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
AFP Commander John Beveridge said the operation successfully blocked more than a million hits of methamphetamine before they could reach the streets.
“This is a case of an organised crime syndicate attempting to supply large quantities of ice to the Australian community,” he said.
“The seizure of these drugs has disrupted this syndicate that supplies methamphetamine to the streets of Melbourne and interstate.
“If this did get through it would cause great harm to the community.”
ABF Regional Commander James Watson said the operation was an example of Australia’s law enforcement agencies working together effectively.
“The concealment was rudimentary in one aspect in that it was simply nailed and glued back together, but it wouldn’t have been detected without the use of our intelligence process which identified the container,” he said.
“It really does represent the best in our intelligence and operational arms coming together to ensure these evil drugs don’t find their way onto the streets.”
Commander Beveridge said investigations were still ongoing in Australia and Africa in relation to the arrests.