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Illicit drugs worth $1.5 billion confiscated in Australia

Illicit drugs worth $1.5 billion confiscated in Australia

CANBERRA: At least 2.8 tones of illicit drugs worth almost $1.5 billion were confiscated in Australia. The customs officials found these under a sea cargo container packed with personal effects and furniture, said Roman Quaedvlieg, Customs and Border Protection Service Chief. This is the second biggest drug confiscation case in Australia’s history.

“By any measure, this is an enormous seizure of illicit narcotics,” Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said.

“It’s also a bold attempt by organised crime to target this country with large illicit narcotic importations.”

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the bust revealed “organized crime at its worst” and “law enforcement at its best”.

The narcotics were shipped to Australia from Hamburg, Germany, in a single consignment and arrived on November 19, police alleged.

Delivery of the container was tracked, first to Blacktown and then to Smithfield, both in western Sydney.

The six men were arrested early Saturday morning when they were found accessing boxes from the consignment in Smithfield, police said.

The six men charged were Australian residents aged but Mr Colvin would not comment on whether they were known to police or affiliated with motorcycle gangs and other crime syndicates.

The investigation was only in its early stages and police were confident of making more arrests following the execution of search warrants this weekend.

“You can’t import nearly three tonnes of narcotics in this country without a large and sophisticated operation,” Mr Colvin said.”This obviously has linkages overseas that will take us, I’m sure, into Europe and parts of Asia.”

The drugs were hidden inside a sea cargo container packed with personal effects and furniture, Customs and Border Protection Service chief Roman Quaedvlieg said. Authorities will work with international counterparts to determine the provenance of the drugs and the shipping container.

Each kilogram of crystal methamphetamine represented 10,000 street deals of ice, Mr. Colvin said, while two tonnes of MDMA was enough to supply 10 million individual ecstasy tablets. The 2.8 tonnes of narcotics represented more than half of the total amount seized by Australian customs officials in 2013.