Australian Border Force members have foiled a large-scale attempt to bring drugs into Australia hidden inside cans of coconut milk.
A consignment of 86 boxes sent from Thailand to an address in Western Sydney was deemed to be suspicious by the ABF. Upon testing the substance inside the cans, it was found to be liquid methamphetamine.
Police sting operation nets two suspects
The ABF then referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police, who this week set up a sting operation and arranged a controlled delivery of the consignment to a warehouse in the suburb of Girraween, NSW.
When two people – a 29-year-old woman and 20-year-old man – arrived to take delivery of the goods, they were pounced on by AFP officers and arrested.
They were each charged with one count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine.
Maximum penalty is life imprisonment
A statement from the Federal Police says the maximum sentence for the offence is life imprisonment.
The total weight of the drugs is still being determined, but is estimated to be approximately 600 litres of liquid methamphetamine.
The street value of the consignment will only be known once the weight has been determined.
Further arrests have not been ruled out
AFP Detective Superintendent Geoffrey Turner said a dedicated team of officers is working on the investigation and further arrests have not been ruled out.
“We are still investigating this matter to determine the role of everyone involved in this large-scale importation of liquid methamphetamine.”
“We will also liaise with our international partners to try and identify the organised crime syndicate behind this importation – only a well-resourced organised crime syndicate would be able to finance and facilitate an importation of this scale,” Turner said.
‘A clever concealment,’ says ABF
A spokesperson for the Border Force, Acting NSW Regional Commander Matthew O’Connor, said: “This is a clever concealment but our highly-trained officers come across tens of thousands of packages a week and they know if something isn’t right.
“No matter how criminals try to conceal their drugs, ABF officers have the technology and skills to find them and the penalties can be severe.”
The two arrested people were refused bail at Sydney Central Local Court. Their next court date is 4 November.