Australian police found a record 1.8 metric tons (2 tons) of methamphetamine concealed inside marble slabs from the Middle East in the country’s largest seizure of illicit drugs.
New South Wales Police said three men aged 24, 26, and 34 — have been arrested and charged in connection with 748 kilograms (1,649 pounds) of meth that arrived at Port Botany (a suburb in south-eastern Sydney) in 24 sea containers earlier this month.
Another 1,060 kilograms (2,337 pounds) of meth encased in marble stone arrived in 19 containers at the same port last week. The drugs were all shipped from the United Arab Emirates.
Police said in total, 1,800 kilograms (4,000 pounds) of meth were seized with an estimated street value of approximately 1.6 billion AUD ($1.1 billion). They said this was the “largest detection of the drug” ever to be seized as part of ongoing investigations by the Drug and Firearms Squad.
Police Detective Chief Supt. John Watson said this criminal drug organization “was extremely well connected in several corners of the globe.”
“The fact that we have seized a further tonne – potentially ten million street deals – of this insidious drug just shows how little regard these types of groups have for the wellbeing of the community.
“Combined with the seizure from earlier this month, NSW Police and ABF officers have stopped more than 1.8 tonnes of ‘ice’ at the border – this is now the largest’ ice’ bust in Australian history.
“It’s once again proof that through the collaboration of all our partner law enforcement agencies, we will continue to stop this dangerous drug from hitting our streets,” Watson said.
Australian Border Force Assistant Commissioner Erin Dale said, “the audacity of these individuals to think they could import such vast quantities of harmful drugs into Australia is astounding … this is the largest seizure of meth at the Australian border and therefore a massive blow to organized criminals.”
Australia’s previous record meth bust was 1.6 metric tons (1.8 tons) in Melbourne from Bangkok in April 2019.
Meth is a huge issue in the land Down Under. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s (ACIC) most recent report found meth consumption in the country was the highest per capita compared with countries in Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
ACIC determined Perth, the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia, has the most meth use among rural Australians.
While alcohol and nicotine are the most popular substances, meth is Australia’s most popular illicit drug.