Four drug importers could face life in prison after the largest seizure of liquid methamphetamine in Australia's history.
The joint operation began in December last year, when Border Force police found liquid meth in gel bra inserts, stowed away in a shipping container from Hong Kong. "Hidden inside those gel bra inserts was 190 litres of liquid methamphetamine," AFP spokesman Chris Sheehan told a press conference today.
Further investigations by the Joint Organised Crime Group—made up of the AFP, NSW Police, Australian and NSW Crime Commissions, and Border Force—uncovered an additional 530 litres in five storage units across the Sydney suburbs of Miranda, Padstow, Kinsgrove, and Hurstville. The drugs were hidden in craft glue and painting sets.
All up police estimate they seized around 3.6 million hits of ice, with a collective street value of $1.26 billion.
Federal justice minister Michael Keenan heralded the seizures as a big win for policing of drug imports. "This joint operation shows how successful our law enforcement agencies are in tackling the organised criminal gangs that pedal in the misery of ice," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
However, the illicit trade remains a big earner for organised drug crime in Australia. In the past few years gangs have become so efficient at importing drugs that bulk prices have fallen significantly. According to an investigation by Fairfax, Cocaine has fallen from $280,000 per kilogram to as low as $180,000; ecstasy from $65,000 to $37,000.
Buoyed by high demand though, street prices haven't experienced the same drop, suggesting these groups are only increasing their profit margins.
More as this story develops.