Australian Border Force officers have intercepted the country’s biggest ever onshore seizure of the drug ice after selecting a sea cargo shipment for inspection in Melbourne.
Equivalent to almost 16 million drug deals, officers found nearly 1.6 tonnes of the illegal drugs wrapped in plastic and hidden in stereo speakers which arrived in Melbourne from Bangkok.
ABF Victorian regional commander Craig Palmer said the record haul would make a significant dent on the state’s drug supply.
“This is the largest meth bust we’ve ever seen in this country and demonstrates not only the brazen nature of those involved in this criminal activity, but the resolve of the ABF in Victoria and around the country to stop these imports,” he said on Friday morning.
The drugs were found in a sea cargo consignment targeted by officers for further inspection at a container examination facility.
An X-ray revealed anomalies within the speakers and when they were taken apart, ABF officers found vacuum-sealed packages containing the drugs.
In total, 1.596 tonnes of ice and 37kg of heroin was found, with an estimated street value of $1.197 billion and $18.5 million respectively.
The drugs would have made it to the streets of Melbourne and beyond, if not for the force’s sophisticated targeting and detection capabilities, he said.
The seizure is equal to more than 13 per cent of the total drugs seized by Australian border force officers last financial year.
“Last financial year the ABF made 43,000 detections of illicit drugs weighing more than 11.8 tonnes – so this seizure is equal to more than 13% of the total drugs we seized last financial year,” Commander Palmer said.
AFP acting commander of organised crime Peter Bodel said the haul has stopped almost 1.6 tonnes of insidious drugs from devastating the Victorian community.
“The effect of these drugs on the community and families would have been profound. It may be your loved one, a friend or neighbour who has been spared the terrifying impact of this mammoth shipment.” Anyone with information is urged to come forward.
There are no arrests yet and the investigation is continuing.