cocaine bust
A supplied image shows Australian law enforcement officers carrying some of the record haul of 1.4 tonnes of cocaine worth A$312 million ($239.5 million) seized from an Australia-bound yacht last week in this picture taken February 5, 2017. Australian Federal Police/Handout via Reuters

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has seized the largest haul of methamphetamine to date in Australia. The drugs were estimated to be almost 903 kilogrammes with a street value of about $898 million. The exact weight and purity of the drugs would be determined after the release of result from forensic testing.

Two men were charged with the alleged drug trafficking and based on the images released by the investigators, the alleged drug traffickers were a 53-year-old Blackburn man and a 36-year-old Doncaster man. The suspects have an Asian appearance and they were believed to have frequented the Box Hill area. An image of a white Nissan coupe was also released but there was no information about the owner of the vehicle.

The suspects would face charges against section 71 of the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic). If found guilty, they would face life imprisonment. The Victoria Police Clandestine Laboratory Squad detectives were hoping to get the identification of the suspects that would help them during the investigation period.

In January 2017, intelligence information was handed down by the AFP to the Victoria Police Clandestine Laboratory Squad. The federal police informed the Victoria police about the a makeshift facility operating in Box Hill. After getting the information, they conducted 12 search warrants in the Box Hill North, Doncaster, Blackburn North, Blackburn South. During the search operation, the team discovered approximately 40 kilograms of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. They also retrieved $140,000 in cash and 175,000 contraband cigarettes.

Seventy boxes of wooden floorboards were found in Nunawading. The floorboards were deconstructed forensically and each floorboard contained approximately two kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine. There were other properties being restrained under provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act. In an estimate, they cost more than $5 million worth of property including residential and industrial buildings. A vehicle parked outside the warehouse in Nunawading was photographed to help the investigators identify the owner of the vehicle.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said that investigations were continuing in the country and overseas. He said that further arrests were expected through the AFP’s International Network. "Police are best-placed to stem the supply of illicit drugs by targeting organised crime syndicates. Our law enforcement effort is coordinated with the health and education sectors, who are focused on demand reduction,” Gaughan said.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Crime Command Stephen Fontana said that the department is always ready to stop the cycle as long as there were continued demands and market of the illegal drugs. He noted that the seizure was significant and it was a great result of the continuing work of the police department.

AFP seizes largest crystal meth haul

YouTube/ euronews (in English)