Customs and Federal Police have seized $500 million worth of drugs in Sydney.
An illegal drugs with a street value of half a billion dollars with seven people arrested in Sydney after a tip off from United States drug agents.
More than half a tonne of drugs, including 306kg of crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, and 252kg of heroin, were seized in Sydney during special operation by the Australian Federal Police.
Seven people, four from Hong Kong and three from Australia have been arrested. They are expected to face Sydney Local Court? later today (Tuesday).? It is the largest seizure of ice and third largest heroin haul in Australian Federal Police history.
The AFP also seized six kilograms of methamphetamine from a 55-year-old man?s Green Valley residence. The bust followed a tip off from the US Drug Enforcement Administration to the AFP about an international organised crime syndicate allegedly planning to import illicit drugs into the Country.
At the beginning of this year, Customs and Border Protection identified a number of individuals believed to be associated with the syndicate and two suspect cargo consignments were targeted. In the middle of July, Customs officers at Port Botany?examined a shipment of 3200 terracotta pots and found significant quantities of heroin and ice concealed within 100 of the pots. It is alleged? that as a result of AFP controlled operation the seven men were arrested attempting to take possession of the drugs.
?This operation follows the AFP?s most successful year in terms of drug seizures,” Andrew Colvin, the AFP Deputy Commissioner Operations said. In the 2011/12 financial year, the AFP and its agencies seized almost 14 tonnes of illicit substances bound for drug distribution networks across Australia.
Customs and Border Protection Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mike Pezzullo said the operation reinforced the power of intelligence sharing and inter-agency cooperation in smashing transnational drug syndicates.
?The information collected and analysed by the Australian Customs and Border Protection made it possible for the operation to be able to identify syndicate members and prevent the shipment from reaching the streets,? Mr Pezzullo said. Since enquiries continue?further arrests?may be affected the AFP.
The four Hong Kong nationals, 42year-old, 61year-old, 29year-old and 34year-old men have been charged with conspiracy to import methamphetamine and heroin, contrary to section 307.1 and 11.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
The 29year-old and 34year-old have also been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of methamphetamine and heroin, contrary to section 307.5 and section 11.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
The three Sydney men, a 42year-old Fairfield, 60year-old West Hoxton and 55year-old Green Valley man have all been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of methamphetamine and heroin, contrary to section 307.5 and section 11.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. The 55year-old Green Valley man has also been charged with possession of a commercial quantity of methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.8 of the Criminal Code 1995.
Before?this, the biggest drug bust in Australia was the seizure of $440 million of ecstasy found in a shipment of tomato cans in 2008 which led to the?jailing of drugs mastermind Pasquale Barbaro?in May 2012. The 50year-old Barbaro and his cousin Saverio Zirilli, 55 were hit with minimum 30-year and 18-year sentences respectively over the international drug ring conspiracy involving almost 4.5 tonnes of ecstasy and almost 100kg of cocaine.
FRANCIS TAWIAH (Duisburg – Germany)