AUSTRALIAN police have seized almost a tonne of methamphetamine from traffickers in what is the largest haul of the drug to date.
Two men, aged 53 and 36, face life imprisonment after they were arrested in connection to trafficking 903kg of crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of AUD898 million (US$680 million). They will be charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of illegal narcotics.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) raided a warehouse in east Melbourne where they found boxes of wooden floorboards, each containing methamphetamine. The total weight of the drugs was 862.9kg.
“We located 70 boxes of floorboards … in each of those floorboards was concealed 2kg of methamphetamine,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said.
“We didn’t arrive at that location by mistake. It was due to the fact there was significant intelligence-sharing across international borders as well as the borders here in Australia.”
Victorian Police also conducted a series of raids across the city which uncovered 40kg of methamphetamine, AUD140,000 (US$106,000) in cash, and 175,000 contraband cigarettes.
A further AUD5 million (US$3.78 million) worth of property, cars and cash were frozen under provisions of Australia’s Proceeds of Crime Act.
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Australia has seen a rapid increase in the use of methamphetamine in recent years. A study released in 2016 showed there were almost 300,000 regular and dependent meth users in the country.
“Police are best-placed to stem the supply of illicit drugs by targeting organised crime syndicates,” Gaughan said.
“Our law enforcement effort is coordinated with the health and education sectors, which are focused on demand reduction.”
Gaughan said the AFP were still looking for two Asian-looking men and were expecting to make more arrests.