A 26-year-old Canadian-French dual national has been charged, after allegedly importing more than 150 kilograms of methamphetamine from Mexico into Australia.
Members of the Victorian Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF) arrested the man on Saturday night (22 February, 2020) near the Melbourne suburb of Chadstone.
It will be alleged in court that the man imported 154 kilograms of the illicit drug, worth an estimated $16.9 million dollars, concealed inside a shipment of silver concentrate in January, 2020.
In addition, a 34 year old Sydney man was arrested in relation to the matter near Seymour on Saturday afternoon (22 February, 2020). The accused has been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.
The JOCTF also executed a number of search warrants at properties as part of its investigation in Burwood and Oakleigh, along with the New South Wales’ suburb of Leonay.
JOCTF investigators work with international law enforcement agency partners including the Indian Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and as a result identified a suspicious shipping container arriving into Melbourne from Mexico on January 23, 2020.
ABF members identified a number of anomalies with the consignment at the Melbourne Container Examination Facility. Further deconstruction identified blocks of a substance that tested positive to methamphetamine hidden inside 19 tonnes of silver concentrate.
The Canadian-French dual national was remanded in custody and will appear in court tomorrow (Tuesday 24 February, 2020), charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, attempted possession of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug and attempted trafficking of controlled drug.
The maximum penalty for these offences includes life imprisonment.
The Sydney man was also remanded to reappear in court on Tuesday (25 February, 2020).
AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Bruce Giles said the AFP and its local and international law enforcement agency partners remained committed to combatting organised crime in Australia and would continue to work with our partners to keep such dangerous drugs off our streets.
“Together, the JOCTF has prevented 154 kilograms of illicit drugs from reaching the community and causing considerable harm, while also simultaneously dismantling and disrupting the work of an organised crime syndicate,” he said.
Victoria Police Crime Command Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh said the arrests were a significant win for both police and the Victorian public.
“Every day police see first-hand both the physical and health impacts of drugs on users, but also the immense damage to the broader community done by the trafficking of these illicit substances,” she said.
“We know that drugs contribute to a wide range of other serious criminal offending.
“It’s incredibly pleasing that we’ve been able to work in cooperation with our Federal partners to stop over 150kg of methamphetamines reaching our local community.
“It also highlights the fact that drugs and organised crime are not just Victorian issues – they cross borders and we make no apology for targeting those who seek to bring that harm here.”
ABF Regional Commander Victoria, Craig Palmer said this significant detection of methamphetamine is another great example of successful collaboration between the ABF and its law enforcement partners to protect Australian communities from harmful and destructive substances.
"Concealment attempts like this are no match for ABF’s sophisticated technology and our highly trained officers,” Commander Palmer said.
“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to detect, seize and prosecute those who choose to engage this type of criminal activity.”
The JOCTF is comprised of investigators from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), Victoria Police and Australian Crime Intelligence Commission (ACIC), along with members from the Department of Home Affairs.
For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services, call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.