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Drug trade gets serious: drugs worth $1.5 billion seized

Customes intercepts 1.5bn worth of drugs

Six men have been charged by the Joint Organised Crime Group (JOCG) for their involvement in the attempted importation of almost three tonnes of MDMA and crystal methamphetamine (ice) into Sydney.

This seizure is estimated to be worth up to $1.5 billion on the street.

The illicit drugs were intercepted by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officers at the NSW Container Examination Facility and were hidden in a mixed container load of furniture and unmarked boxes.

Police will allege the consignment with an estimated weight of almost 2 tonnes of MDMA and more than 800kgs of methamphetamine was shipped to Australia from Germany and arrived into Australia on 19 November.

Police conducted a controlled delivery of the consignment to an address in Blacktown where its contents were removed and transported to another location.

The six men were arrested in the early hours of this morning when they were found accessing the boxes from the consignment at an address in Smithfield.

The men are all Australian residents and range in ages from 23 to 34.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said agencies are working together harder than ever to stop drugs from entering our country.

“Working together as a part of the Joint Organised Crime Group, this seizure represents the second largest in Australian history and is worth up to $1.5 billion,” Commissioner Colvin said.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the significance of today’s seizure cannot and should not ever be underestimated.

“Today the NSW Police Force’s Organised Crime Squad, with its partner agencies, has taken billions of dollars-worth of illicit drugs off the streets just before the start of the summer party season,” Commissioner Scipione said.

“These illicit drugs are hideous poisons that ruin not only people’s lives but they destroy families, entire communities and have the potential of destroying a whole generation.

“Today we have successfully taken an enormous and unprecedented portion off the streets of New South Wales and the effects of this great seizure will be seen far and wide across the Australian community,” Commissioner Scipione said.

ACBPS chief executive officer Roman Quaedvlieg said that a seizure of this quantity reinforces our belief that amphetamine type substances are a growing threat to the Australian community.

“The importation of these substances into the community is being orchestrated by serious and organised crime groups, and stopping this is one of the services’ key operational priorities,” Mr Quaedvlieg said.

“The detection of this consignment shows the critical role that Customs and Border Protection plays in operations like this.”

“This seizure is also testimony to the dedication and persistence of our officers.”

The men have all been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug and faced the Parramatta District Court.

These charges attract a possible penalty of life imprisonment and investigations into this matter remain ongoing.

The JOCG is a multiagency investigation group comprising the Australian Federal Police, the NSW Police Force, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, NSW Crime Commission and the Australian Crime Commission.

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