A 23-year-old man was arrested in Lawson yesterday (5 December) and faced the Magistrates court this morning for his alleged involvement in a drug consignment with an estimated street value amassing up to $40.5 million.
The arrest took place following a seven-month investigation which was launched after authorities seized an airfreight consignment at an air cargo facility in Sydney. The package, originating from Germany, carried 144 buckets marked as chlorine but containing bags of white crystalline substance which authorities concluded to be methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA). Forensic testing confirmed that 356 kilograms of MDMA was concealed in that consignment, which could have potentially produced 1.2 million tablets with a street value of up to $40.5 million. The recipient address was a destination in Fyshwick, which brought the Australian Federal Police (AFP), ACT Policing and Australian Border Force (ABF) together in a joint operation in the ACT.
Yesterday’s operation also included a search of a residence in Philip, where authorities found a number of fireworks, steroids, a small amount of white powder suspected to be an illicit substance, as well as cash amounting to approximately $3,000. A search warrant was issued simultaneously for a premise in Wright, where 1.3 kilograms of an amphetamine-type substance known as cathinone and a rifle were seized.
The AFP suspects the 23-year-old is also involved in an ongoing broader organised crime investigation conducted by ACT Policing.
A press conference was held outside the City Police Station this morning, conducted by AFP Manager Crime Operations Commander Justine Gough, ACT Policing Deputy Chief Police Officer Commander Mark Walters, and Australian Border Force Acting Assistant Commissioner Enforcement Command, Sharon Huey.
Commander Gough issued a strong warning to drug syndicates attempting to distribute drugs in Australia, saying, “we want criminals involved in these operations to know that we are working to disrupt their networks, track down those involved and bring them to account.”
Commissioner Huey emphasised the gravity of the success of this joint operation, stating that by “working side-by-side with our law enforcement partners we have disrupted another organised criminal syndicate, taking 1.2 million tablets of MDMA off our streets”.
She further stated that to see a consignment of this quantity addressed to Canberra is a very rare occurrence, anticipating frightening consequences to the community if the consignment was not intercepted.