A member of a transnational organised crime syndicate has been sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment by the Melbourne County Court for his involvement in the importation of 63kgs of pure methamphetamine.
The Sunshine North man, 52, was sentenced on 17 February, 2023, after he was earlier found guilty of jointly attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, contrary to subsections 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth), by virtue of section 11.2A (joint commission) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
He was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years.
The man was a key facilitator in importing 63kgs of methamphetamine inside a consignment of meat smokers which arrived in Melbourne from South Africa in 2021. The estimated street value of the methamphetamine is more than $12 million.
The Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF) launched an investigation on 4 January 2021 after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers found the drugs inside the meat smokers sent from Cape Town.
On 15 January 2021, investigators executed search warrants in the Melbourne suburbs of St Albans and Sunshine North.
The Sunshine North resident was arrested and charged.*
AFP Superintendent Jason McArthur said the AFP would continue to deliver results for the Australian community in the fight against transnational serious organised crime.
“Despite efforts by criminal networks to evade detection, authorities continue to identify and disrupt syndicates who attempt to flood our communities with dangerous drugs,” Supt McArthur said.
“Drug traffickers impact our national security, economy and public safety, and Australian law enforcement agencies are united in our commitment to stop them profiting at the expense of our communities."
ABF Superintendent Maritime Operations South Dan Peters said the ongoing dedication and expertise of officers at the border ensures illicit substances do not enter the Australian community.
“The audacity that many criminal actors show when they’re attempting to import illicit substances into Australia is astounding, and this is yet another example of that,” Supt Peters said.
“As ABF officers we are extremely proud of the role we play in detecting and disrupting these groups before they bring immense harm to the community.”
“No matter how creatively criminals think they are in concealing illicit substances, the community should rest assured that ABF officers have the tools and knowledge to stop them.”
Victoria Police Detective Superintendent Jacqueline Curran, Organised Crime Division said,
“Every day, police see first-hand the physical and health impacts of drugs on users, and the immense impact to the broader community caused by the trafficking of illicit substances.”
“Illicit drugs contribute to a range of other serious criminal offending, and it is incredibly rewarding to work in collaboration with our State and Federal partners to prevent over 60kg of methamphetamine reaching our local community.”
“The success of this operation highlights the commitment of all the agencies involved in pursuing offenders seeking to profit at the expense of others.”
ACIC National Manager South Operations Damien Appleby said the ACIC would continue to work with our partners both in Australia and offshore - to prevent methamphetamine entering Australia.
“This operation is an excellent result by Australian law enforcement. By continuously and tirelessly targeting key players, in collaboration with our partners, we continue to dismantle these criminal networks and focus on combating the importation of methamphetamine into Australia.”
*Note previous media release was approx. 81kgs of methamphetamine at time of the arrest; upon further forensic examination, the amount of pure methamphetamine totalled 63.3kgs, with a purity of over 80%.
Across Australia, 12,400 people were hospitalised for methamphetamine-related issues in the 2020-2021 financial year.* *Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report
The Victorian JOCTF consists of members from the AFP, Victoria Police, ABF, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Department of Home Affairs.
Note to media:
Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.
- For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
- Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at counsellingonline.org.au.
- For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to turningpoint.org.au.