An Australian Federal Police-led operation has resulted in the arrest of a 29-year-old Sydney man, who has been charged in connection with Australia’s largest heroin seizure in almost two decades.
He faced Parramatta Local Court following the record detection on 23 December 2020 of almost 350 kilograms of heroin. It is worth an estimated $156-million dollars and equates to more than 1.1-million street deals.
The investigation into the importation of the illicit narcotics, which was found by Australian Border Force officers in a consignment of machinery, resulted in AFP and ABF officers, with assistance from NSW Police Criminal Groups and Strike Force Raptor investigators, executing search warrants at six Sydney properties last week.
The 29-year-old man was arrested at his home in the north Hornsby suburb of Mount Colah and charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border-controlled drugs. The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
Hidden in a consignment of vertical mixers
Search warrants were executed at three other residential addresses in Miller, Baulkham Hills, and Kings Park, as well as at two business premises in Hornsby.
The investigation was launched in December 2020 after ABF officers in Sydney found the heroin concealed inside a consignment of vertical mixers that arrived via air cargo from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
AFP investigators removed the illicit drugs, weighing 347.9 kilograms, and with assistance from ABF, delivered them to the destined address – a storage facility in Hornsby.
Police allege that, in February this year, the accused Mount Colah man collected the consignment of machinery and attempted to access the drugs.
Police spent months gathering more evidence
Police spent the ensuing months conducting further enquiries to identify people and locations of interest, and continued gathering evidence to support a prosecution.
These enquiries resulted in last week’s raid, with police seizing mobile handsets, knives, handcuffs and a small amount of testosterone.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent, Morgen Blunden, said this is the largest seizure of heroin in Australia in almost two decades and, if these drugs had not been intercepted, the impact on the community would have been devastating.
“Illicit drug use causes a significant burden to the Australian economy through crime, loss of productivity, emergency treatment and increased health care costs,” Blunden said.