Seven men and a woman have been charged for their alleged involvement in the importation of 540 kilograms methamphetamine into Sydney. The total street value of the drugs is approximately $324 million, and each person may be jailed for life.
The men and woman have appeared in Sydney Central Local Court following the culmination of a joint operation conducted by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF).
On Monday, 27 February 2017, a sea cargo consignment that arrived in Sydney from the United States was targeted and examined by ABF officers, who discovered a white substance concealed within 396 bottles labelled as protein powder.
Initial testing of the substance returned a positive result for methamphetamine with a total weight of approximately 540 kilograms. Further forensic testing will be conducted to determine the exact weight and purity.
The AFP then began a controlled operation, which involved the delivery of the consignment to a unit in Smithfield in western Sydney.
On Monday evening (6 March 2017), seven men arrived at the unit and allegedly accessed the consignment. The men – all Australian citizens aged between 20 and 31 – were subsequently arrested.
Each man was charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1, of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The AFP conducted a number of search warrants in western Sydney as part of this investigation. Police found approximately five kilograms of methamphetamine and smaller quantities of ecstasy and cocaine, along with drug paraphernalia, five firearms and ammunition, and $35,000 cash.
As a result of these warrants, a 23-year-old woman was arrested at a residence in Green Valley. She was charged with:
- Attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1, of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
- Attempting to traffic a commercial quantity of a controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 302.2, by virtue of section 1, of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.