An airline customer-service officer, 22, has been extradited from Victoria after being arrested at Melbourne International Airport over his alleged role in importing $155 million worth of methylamphetamine.
Investigators from the NSW State Crime Command's Drug & Firearms Squad and Australian Border Force, helped by Australian Federal Police, began a joint investigation into methylamphetamine importation.
Acting on information from NSW Police investigators, ABF officers targeted a container from the US for examination on July 29. It was X-rayed at the Sydney Container Examination Facility and anomalies were noted in the X-ray image. The container was opened, revealing two large industrial machines inside.
Further investigation of a 15-tonne injection moulding machine, commonly used in the manufacture of plastic products, revealed seven plastic garbage bags hidden inside two internal spaces.
In these bags, officers found about 200 clip-seal bags containing a white crystal substance, with a total weight of 207kg. The substance was tested and returned a presumptive positive result for methylamphetamine, with an estimated street value over $155 million.
As a result of extensive inquiries, the airline officer was arrested by AFP officers after he boarded a Singapore-bound flight at Melbourne International Airport on Sunday, August 4.
Police say he travelled under a false name on a domestic flight from Sydney before trying to leave the country from Melbourne.
Investigators went to Victoria, where they applied for and were granted his extradition to NSW on Monday, August 5. The man was escorted by detectives on a flight to Sydney and taken to Mascot police station.
He was charged with supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
Police say he facilitated importing over 200kg of methylamphetamine.
He was refused bail to be in Central Court yesterday, Tuesday, August 6.
As part of further inquiries, strike-force investigators searched homes at Cartwright andIngleburn and a factory at SevenHills yesterday. They found a floor-polishing disk at the Ingleburn home with 80g of heroin hidden inside.
Police also seized 38g of magic mushrooms, 50g of MDMA, a small quantity of LSD, many electronic devices and documents.
Joint investigations are continuing.
NSW State Crime Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner StuartSmith, said these joint investigations have disrupted the activities of an international criminal network.
"Our joint investigations have uncovered an international syndicate and we're arresting their facilitators to have an impact at the top levels of the network," he said. "The relationship with our partner agencies ensures joint operational activity is cutting into the profits of professional criminals."
ABF Investigations Superintendent GarryLow said the operation is an example of the results achieved by the high levels of joint agency co-operation between our law-enforcement agencies.
"Our partnerships and information sharing continue to lead to large detections and significant results," he said. "We're not only detecting drugs at the border, we're smashing the criminal syndicates involved in their importation.
"My message to anyone thinking of engaging in this type of activity is to reconsider. Our wide range of detection methods can pick up a concealment however well hidden criminals believe it is -- and industrial machinery is no exception."
- Any information about the importation and supply of drugs to CrimeStoppers, 1800 333 000. Information treated in strict confidence. You're reminded not to report crime via police social-media pages.