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Australia Has Just Busted a Billion Dollars of Meth Hidden in Bra Inserts and Art Supplies

Four Chinese nationals have been charged over their alleged role in the importation and manufacture of 720 liters of liquid methamphetamine, some of which was hidden in gel bra inserts.
February 15, 2016, 12:34pm
Foto di Dan Himbrechts/EPA

Australia today made one of the biggest drug busts in the country's history — A$1.25 billion ($890.5 million) worth of liquid methamphetamine, or "ice," which was hidden inside gel bra inserts and art equipment

Four Chinese nationals, three of them from Hong Kong, have been charged over their alleged role in the importation and manufacture of 720 liters (24,300 fl. oz.) of the drug. The narcotics were seized at several locations in Sydney, including a shipping container sent from Hong Kong, authorities said.

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"This is the largest seizure of liquid methamphetamine in Australia's history and one of the largest drug seizures in our country's history," Justice Minister Michael Keenan told reporters in Sydney.

"This has resulted in 3.6 million individual hits of ice being taken off our streets… This largest seizure of methamphetamine to date, is a result of organized criminals targeting the lucrative Australia ice market from offshore."

(Photo by Dan Himbrechts/EPA)

He said the seizure was the result of a joint investigation between Australian authorities and the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission.

The haul was biggest in Australia since 2014, when police seized around $1.5 billion in ecstasy and methamphetamines imported from Europe.

Border Force Commander Chris Sheehan told reporters that the shipping container from Hong Kong "was found to contain gel bra inserts and hidden inside those gel bra inserts was 190 liters of liquid methamphetamine."

Another 530 liters were found inside art supplies kept in five storage units in the Sydney suburbs, according to Sheehan.

(Video via Australian Federal Police)

The Australian government declared a crystal methamphetamine "epidemic" last year and launched a national taskforce to tackle the drug.

Around 2.1 percent of Australians used methamphetamines or amphetamine drugs in the 2014, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, among the highest rates of illicit drug usage in the world.

China is the world's largest manufacturer of the chemical precursors necessary to make licit and illicit drugs, according to the UN office on Drugs and Crime. It also struggles with high addiction rates, with 14 million drug addicts in 2014, according to the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission.

A handout picture released by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) shows one of four people being arrested in the operation.