Australian Federal Police (AFP) have charged two Iranian nationals with the alleged importation of approximately 250kg of methamphetamine in multiple consignments last month.
The drugs have an estimated street value of approximately $187-million, according to the AFP.
Male and female arrested by police
A man, 30, and a woman, 26 years, were arrested in Sydney on 8 and 9 January and were denied bail. One of the accused appeared in Sydney Local Court yesterday (Monday), while the other accused is to appear in the Supreme Court of New South Wales tomorrow (Wednesday).
A Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF) investigation was sparked when Australian Border Force (ABF) officers detected about 100kg of methamphetamines concealed within a consignment of kitchen bench tops in December 2020.
The bench tops were sent to Melbourne from Iran and destined for delivery to an address in Endeavour Hills, Victoria.
Warehouse used as a clandestine lab
The consignment was allegedly transported by the syndicate to a warehouse in Lakemba, NSW in early January. Police allege the warehouse was being used as a clandestine laboratory to extract and process the methamphetamine.
Further investigation identified multiple importations allegedly linked to this syndicate, including two consignment containing approximately 60kg of methamphetamine, arriving into Melbourne and Sydney, and one consignment of chandeliers which arrived into Sydney containing approximately 30kg of methamphetamine.
The AFP executed search warrants at a warehouse in Lakemba and residences in Blacktown, Merrylands and Doonside on 8 and 9 January 2021, where officers arrested the man and woman.
Maximum penalty of life imprisonment
They have been charged with importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
This offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Further arrests in relation to the investigation are expected, the AFP said in a media statement.
Flow-on effects of organised crime are real
“Australians are among the highest per capita users of methamphetamines and that means we have to be ever-vigilant for syndicates that seek to exploit this devastating drug to line their own pockets,” Acting Commander Geoff Turner of the AFP said.
The flow-on effects from the actions of organised crime in our community are real. This investigation uncovered a potentially dangerous clandestine laboratory operating in a Sydney suburb, which we have now shut down.
“The AFP and its partners are working hard to protect the Australian community by outsmarting organised crime. These arrests show it does not matter when or where criminals operate; they will find themselves the subject of our investigations if they seek to import and traffic in illegal drugs.”