Victorian joint agency task force unhinges meth importation plan

Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Federal Police

Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Federal Police

Three men have been arrested by the Victorian Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), following an alleged attempt to import 17 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed within a consignment of door hinges.

Investigations began in August 2017, after the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) identified a number of Malaysian nationals suspected of planning a drug importation.

A consignment arrived via air cargo into Sydney containing door hinges.  An examination of the hinges by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers revealed approximately 17 kilograms of a crystal substance secreted inside. 

Presumptive testing returned a positive result for methamphetamine – further forensic analysis will be conducted to determine the exact weight and purity of the seizure.

The JOCTF conducted further investigations, and yesterday (7 September 2017) arrested three Malaysian men – 35-year-old, a 31-year-old and a 28-year-old – in Chifley, New South Wales.

The men have been charged with importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs and attempt to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs,  and are due to appear at Sydney Central Local Court today (8 September 2017).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

Australian Federal Police Commander Bruce Hill, Manager Organised Crime, said the JOCTF had acted swiftly to make the arrests.

“As a result of intelligence, the JOCTF has been able to identify the alleged suspects connected to this investigation and make these arrests, showing just how closely our agencies are working together to combat organised crime,” Commander Hill said.

Victoria Police Acting Commander Peter De Santo said this is a great example of swift action through joint collaboration with all agencies involved.

ABF Regional Commander Victoria, James Watson, said this operation has achieved a terrific outcome that continues to highlight the success of the collaborative approach to fighting organised crime.

“As this case once again shows, organised criminal syndicates are using sophisticated smuggling methodologies in an attempt to evade ABF scrutiny, but our officers have the expertise and technology to detect even the most elaborate concealment.”

ACIC Victorian State Manager, Jason Halls, said these arrests show that methyl amphetamine is an attractive market for organised crime groups in Australia.

“We are committed to working with our partner agencies to connect, discover, understand and respond to the threat and harm caused by these illicit activities.”

The Victorian JOCTF is a team of specialists targeting organised crime from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police (VICPOL), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Border Force (ABF).

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