Australian Federal Police have made three arrests and seized 496 kilograms of MDMA from a shipping container in Sydney on Oct. 6.
After the container’s arrival from Turkey at Port Botany on Sept. 28, officers with the Australian Border Force (ABF) found concealed packages of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, inside four industrial mincing machines during screening.
The screening of one of the machines found 60 packages of a brown granulated substance, each bag weighing around two kilograms. ABF’s testing returned a positive result for MDMA.
A total of 248 packages that weighed around 496 kilograms were found in the four machines.
Officers Follow the Delivery
After the find, the consignment was allowed to undergo a controlled delivery to its intended address in Auburn in the eastern state of New South Wales.
A week later on Oct. 6, AFP and ABF officers executed a search warrant at a business in the nearby suburb of Clyde. They arrested a 27-year-old man, seized his phone, and small amounts of what appeared to be cocaine.
A 24 and 29-year-old man were arrested after the AFP executed another search warrant at second Clyde business. More arrests were made in the Sydney suburbs of Guildford, Auburn, and Elizabeth Hills, on Oct. 7.
The arrested faced court on Oct. 7 and were charged with a number of counts relating to the import and acquisition of commercial quantities of drugs.
AFP Detective Superintendent Kirsty Schofield said that the amount of MDMA could have made over 1.7 million pills—a street value of more than $57 million.
“Seizures like this don’t address the issues of demand and why people are willing to risk their lives by taking drugs without accurate knowledge of what they contain,” said AFP Detective Superintendent Kirsty Schofield. “But stopping almost half a tonne goes some way to reducing the harm these drugs can cause our communities”.
500kg of Cocaine Seized in Sydney
As a result, the Sydney Central Local Court charged a 41-year-old Wahroonga man with conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of illicit drugs and dealing with money valued at over $50,000.
A 39-year-old Bonnyrigg Heights man was also charged that same day for allegedly involved with the financial transactions.
The Sydney Central Local Court denied both of them bail on Sept. 28.
The stash had been exported from South America with plans to import it into Australia.
According to the AFP, the cocaine was professionally concealed within the yacht.
Officers also raided Wahroonga, Bonnyrigg Heights, Dolls Point and Caringbah in relation to the drug bust.
ABF Commander Garry Low said the success of the Oct. 6 drug bust was a testament to the the force’s highly skilled officers and the sophisticated technology they use in their work.
“Every day our officers go to work determined to protect Australia from these harmful substances, and cases like these show their hard work and dedication pays off,” Low said.
“Our officers have the technology, skills and commitment to find these drugs and stop them from entering the country—regardless of how criminals try to hide them.”
“It’s a significant result for public safety and a win for the people whose lives could’ve been torn apart by these drugs.”
Storyful contributed to this article.