Investigations are underway following the seizure in Melbourne of almost 540 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine worth an estimated $80.7 million. This is the second largest such haul in Victoria’s history.
The border-controlled drug was discovered concealed inside a shipment of thousands of canola oil bottles sent from Mexico to Melbourne.
Australian Border Force (ABF) officers identified the suspicious consignment spread across two shipping containers when it arrived in Victoria at the end of March.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers seized the shipment, which contained a total of 9,360 canola oil bottles.
Forensic tests found 269 bottles contained meth
Forensic testing later confirmed that 269 of the bottles contained an estimated 538 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine, rather than the stated canola oil.
The liquid methamphetamine seizure is second in size to the record 560 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine seized by the Federal Police during Operation Zeelandia in November 2020. This led to the arrest of four alleged members of a transnational criminal syndicate.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent, Rebecca Goddard, said the seizure was another example of the extreme lengths organised criminal syndicates can go to in order to import illicit substances into Australia.
“Detectives are now working to trace the criminal syndicates connected to this shipment and we are calling for anyone with information relating to the investigation to contact [us],” she said.
“Australian authorities continue to slam the brakes on the movement of illicit drugs across international borders and into our communities.
Warning sent to organised criminal syndicates
“This multi-million dollar seizure is another strong warning to organised criminal syndicates, both here and abroad, that the AFP and its Commonwealth and state law enforcement partners remain committed to identifying, targeting and prosecuting you.”
Australian Border Force Regional Commander, Craig Palmer, said the ABF’s technical expertise and sophisticated technology meant it was capable of finding drugs regardless of the method of concealment.
“If criminal organisations have thought of it, chances are, we have seen it,” he stated.
On Friday, two Sydney men appeared in a Brisbane court in connection with a $300-million international drug bust involving MDMA, also known as ecstasy or ‘molly’. So far a total of 13 people have been arrested in three countries after being linked to the consignment.