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14 January 2019

Man faces court over record methamphetamine seizure

Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Federal Police, Australian Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Western Australia Police

A 45-year-old Sydney man is expected to appear before Perth Magistrate’s Court today to face charges for his alleged role in the importation of 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine in Geraldton, Western Australia in December 2017.

The man was arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in Sydney on 21 December 2018, and extradited to Perth on Thursday (10 January 2019). He is the tenth person to be charged in relation to the 2017 WA Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF) investigation, which remains the largest seizure of methamphetamine in Australian history.

The 45-year-old Sydney man was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug (methamphetamine) contrary to S307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

It will be alleged the man was a key facilitator for the importation and its subsequent intended distribution in Australia.

The maximum penalty for these charges is life imprisonment.

The Western Australian Joint Organised Crime Task Force (WA JOCTF) comprises the AFP, Western Australia Police Force, Australian Border Force (ABF), AUSTRAC, and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Seizure timeline

  • On 21 December 2017, marine vessel the Valkoista, arrived at the Port of Geraldton in WA at around 2am (WST).
  • The drugs were then offloaded into a van shortly before 4am (WST). Tactical response police officers intercepted the van as it reversed from the dock. Police arrested the three occupants of the van: three men from NSW aged 33, 38 and 52.
  • Simultaneously, police boarded the Valkoista and arrested two crew members on board: a 45-year-old man from the NSW Central Coast and a 44-year-old man from South Australia. A 48-year-old South Australian man was subsequently arrested in a vehicle nearby.  
  • Fifty-nine bags containing approximately 20 kilograms of methamphetamine were seized from the van. An additional bag containing approximately 20 kilograms of methamphetamine was found on the vessel, bringing the total amount of methamphetamine seized to around 1.2 tonnes. This amount of methamphetamine has an estimated street value of $1.04 billion.
  • The six men were transported to Geraldton Police Station for processing.
  • The vessel and the van were seized by police, searched, and forensically examined. Search warrants were also conducted at residential properties in Sydney, the NSW Central Coast, and Adelaide.
  • Two men from South Australia, both aged 37, were later arrested at a hotel in Hillarys in northern Perth for their alleged involvement in this drug importation.
  • In February 2018, a 52-year-old man was also arrested in Sydney for his alleged participation in the importation.

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Last updated
14 January 2019