50kgs Cocaine Seized Worth $15 Million

50kgs Cocaine Seized Worth $15 Million


​​On Nov 23 2021, the ABF disrupted an import of 50kgs of cocaine which arrived in Brisbane via a sea freight container. Australian Customs has been focusing on a global trafficking methodology known as a “rip-off”, referring to the importation of border-controlled drugs concealed within legitimate cargo.

Upon inspection of a refrigerated container, ABF discovered cocaine inside the motor compartment. The cocaine, with a street value of approximately $15 million, arrived from Belgium and investigations into the alleged importer are continuing.

ABF Assistant Commissioner Tim Fitzgerald said “the ABF was keenly aware of the reliance of organised crime figures on people within the freight industry to assist with their criminal endeavours. These individuals, also known as trusted insiders, abuse the access and influence available to them through their employment, to compromise supply chain integrity. The ABF is working closely with the Australian Federal Police and other law enforcement partners domestically and internationally to combat these threats and enhance the integrity of the nation’s sea and aviation supply chains.”

In August 2020 at the port of Brisbane, a similar import was identified, 72 kilograms of cocaine concealed in a refrigerated container.

11 Steroid Imports Seized – 38yr old sentenced to 4yrs Imprisonment

11 Steroid Imports Seized – 38yr old sentenced to 4yrs Imprisonment


Concealed within various food and cleaning consumables ABF officers detected steroids arriving via several different postal gateway facilities. They executed multiple warrants at a number of Western Australian properties in the Byford, Baldivis and the Darch regions.

These raids resulted in the seizure of anabolic and androgenic substances and a significant amount of equipment related to the manufacture and sale of the steroids, including $13,600 in cash, scales, vials, micro-filters and steroid labels.

Acting Commander Operations West Shaun Senior said:

“The ABF takes the importation of prohibited drugs seriously and will pursue legal action to ensure offenders face the full force of the law.

Performance and image enhancing drugs, such as steroids, are regulated in Australia for very good reasons as they can have serious health impacts for users.

Criminals who attempt to import these types of substances should understand, no matter where or how you hide it, the ABF will detect the concealment and bring you to justice.”​

A 38yr old WA man was sentenced to four years imprisonment over eleven separate imports of anabolic and androgenic steroids. He pleaded guilty on all seven counts.

Ephedrine Worth 3.5 Million Seized

Ephedrine Worth 3.5 Million Seized


As part of an ongoing joint investigation into the alleged importation of more than $3.5 million worth of ephedrine concealed in vehicle parts, detectives have charged two men.

Acting on intelligence information received, Customs officers identified a arriving into Sydney from India on Thursday 17th Dec 2020.

Inconsistencies with the air freight consignment, which was declared as vehicle parts, were identified by ABF officers at the Sydney container examination facility.

During the following deconstruction of the goods, it was revealed to contain almost 50kg of powder concealed within the items.

The powder was tested and returned a presumptive positive result for ephedrine, which has an estimated potential street value of more than $3.5 million.

Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad seized the consignment and conducted a controlled delivery.

Following extensive inquiries, detectives, with assistance from Strike Force Raptor Highway, arrested two men – aged 39 and 48 – during two separate vehicle stops at Georges Hall on Monday 21st Dec.

A short time later, two search warrants were executed at properties at Bankstown and Picnic Point, where detectives seized various substances believed to be prohibited drugs, documentation, computers and electronic storage devices

Investigators also seized 50kg of iodine, which has an estimated potential street value of $50,000.

The iodine and ephedrine seized during the operation has to potential to produce 38kg of methylamphetamine (ice), with an estimated potential street value of $9.5 million.

The men were taken to Bankstown Police Station and charged with attempting to possess an amount of precursor prescribed by regulations and attempted possession of a controlled precursor.

Investigations by the Drug and Firearms Squad are continuing.

Steroids and Firearms Parts, Sydney Man Charged

Steroids and Firearms Parts, Sydney Man Charged

A man has been charged following an investigation into the alleged importation of firearm silencers and steroids in Camden.

On Sunday 4 October 2020, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers inspected a package at the Sydney Gateway Facility mail centre that had arrived from overseas.

Further examination revealed it contained 70 vials of growth hormone, and anabolic steroids.

On Tuesday 27 October 2020, ABF officers intercepted a second package sent via air cargo which was found to contain four firearms silencers.

Both matters were referred to the NSW Police Force and detectives from Camden Police Area Command commenced an investigation.

On Wednesday 4 November 2020, a search was conducted at a home in Cobbitty and a business in Camden, with police seizing further prescribed restricted substances and a mobile phone.

On Sunday 22 November 2020 a further package containing four firearm silencers was intercepted by ABF officers.

Following inquiries, the 45-year-old man was arrested at Narellan Police Station about 4.45pm yesterday (Tuesday 1 December 2020).

He was charged with intentionally import prohibited tier-one goods without approval, two counts of import prohibited imports and possess/attempt to, prescribed restricted substance.

The man was refused bail and will appear in Campbelltown Local Court today (Wednesday 2 December 2020).

13 kgs of Pseudoephedrine found on Melbourne Passenger

13 kgs of Pseudoephedrine found on Melbourne Passenger


Australian Border Force (Customs) officers identified around 13 kgs of pseudoephedrine in a 35yr old mans luggage at Melbourne Intl Airport and has since been arrested and charged. The man was arriving from Vietnam on 22nd Aug 2019 and was selected for a baggage examination, during which several packages were located identified as food products.

Officers discovered a white crystalline substance upon opening the packages, which was later identified as pseudoephedrine – a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of “ice”.

The man was arrested and charged for importation of a commercial quantity of a controlled precursor contrary to division 307.11 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

On 23rd Aug he appeared in Melbourne magistrate’s court and was refused bail, to re-appear on 15th Nov in the same court.

Victorian Customs Regional Commander, Craig Palmer, said the detection was a great example of the dedicated work Customs officers undertake at our borders each and every day.

“This detection demonstrates Customs officers at international airports have the skills and technology to identify travellers and baggage that present a risk to the Australian border,” Commander Palmer stated.

“We know the significant damage “ice” is having on communities around the country, and our officers at the border are committed to stopping drugs and precursors used to manufacture them reaching our kids and destroying families and communities.”

“Those involved in the illicit drug trade should be warned, Customs has a strong presence at the Border and you will be targeted.”

The man was not found as being in connection with any customs clearance brokers in Melbourne to aid in the facilitation of his attempted border security evasion.

Anyone with information about the importation of illegal drugs and precursors can contact Customs Border Watch at Australia.gov.au/borderwatch. Information can be provided anonymously.

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500 MDMA tablets by International Post

500 MDMA tablets by International Post


NSW Police charged a man for the importation of MDMA that was detected by Australian Border Force (ABF) Detector Dog Unit officers in a parcel from Spain on Saturday 18th Aug 2019.

Officers inspected and x-rayed the consignment, which was found to contain various coloured plastic bracelets. They also located some 500 tablets in the consignment, which were subject to further examination and initial testing identified positive results for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or “MDMA”.

The matter was referred to police from St George Proactive Crime Team with the assistance of the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad. Following further inquiries, investigators being executed a search warrant at an apartment on Brodie Spark Drive, Wolli Creek, just before midday on Wednesday 21st Aug 2019.

During the search, police seized an additional 62g grams of MDMA, cocaine, cannabis, synthetic drugs, drug paraphernalia consistent with supply, cannabis cultivation equipment, postal packaging, a laptop, mobile phones, and documentation.

The street value of the seized illicit drugs is approximately $75,000. A 23-year-old man was arrested at the location and taken to Kogarah Police Station.

Customs clearance brokers in Sydney were not identified as being associated with this importation.

He was charged with four counts of possess prohibited drug, importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drug and two counts of supplying prohibited drug.

Illicit drugs hidden in a caravan shipped from the UK sized

Illicit drugs hidden in a caravan shipped from the UK sized


Australian Border Force (ABF) tracked a sea cargo consignment from the United Kingdom on suspicion of illicit drugs. They conducted further examinations at the Sydney Container Examination Facility (CEF) and seized 91 kg of MDMA and 3 kg of ice.

Investigating anomalies noted during x-ray of the caravan, the ABF Detector Dog Unit was put to use. This also indicated presence of illicit drugs in the caravan.

On deconstructing the caravan, officers found drugs hidden within three cavities, with an estimated $5 million in street value. Following this, AFP investigators conducted a controlled delivery. After removing the drugs, they allowed the caravan to continue to its destination.

Two men who were awaiting the caravan’s arrival in St Ives, Sydney where arrested by the Police. Two men were charged for attempting to smuggle 91kg of MDMA and 3kg of ice into Australia, hidden in a caravan shipped from the UK. Even though services of a customs broker located in Sydney may have been used, no details are available.

Gerard Fletcher, AFP Detective Superintendent said this operation clearly shows the importance of the AFP and ABF working together to stop drugs and other harmful substances reaching the Australians. He also hoped the operation send a message: if you’re thinking of buying, selling or transporting illicit drugs, it’s simply not worth the risk.

Danielle Yannopoulos, ABF Regional Commander NSW was of the opinion that this detection is yet another example of effectiveness of ABF’s targeted, multi-layered approach to protecting the border and the Australian community. Explaining the process he said “After successfully identifying this as a shipment of interest, we’ve used our cutting-edge x-ray technology and world-class detector dogs to locate a significant amount of dangerous drugs before they could reach the community,”

Charges leveled against these two men are on two counts. For importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug – one for 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and another for methamphetamine. Maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

JOCG dismantle global drug syndicate

Eight people were arrested in Sydney and one in Dubai for conspiring to illegally import drugs and tobacco into Australia. This is part of the JOCGs efforts to eliminate high-level organised crime syndicates

The Joint Organised Crime Group-JOCG is a joint action group with members from Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC).

Operation Astatine focused on a NSW-based criminal network involved in drug trafficking and tobacco smuggling. This group is alleged to be behind the conspiracy to import 200 kilograms of MDMA via sea cargo and smuggling 50 million cigarettes into Australia. This group is also reported to be engaged in money laundering activities.

In a controlled delivery to an address in Rosebery, 52-year-old Queensland man was arrested for allegedly transporting and accessing the substance. JOCG seized 80 kilograms of cocaine at an address in Rosebery. Though there has been detailed reporting of the operation, involvement of any Sydney based customs broker  is not known.

Agencies such as The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), AFP and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection also conducted a parallel investigation – codenamed Operation Zeus. An ABF officer was charged for assisting the syndicate avoid law enforcement detection. A former Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officer has also been charged for the same offence.

Success of the exercise was due to the successful cooperation of UAE Ministry of Justice, the Dubai Public Prosecution Office, Dubai Police and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Added to this was the domestic expertise of AUSTRAC, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) and the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD).

Head of this syndicate, a 47-year-old man from NSW was arrested in the United Arab Emirates by the Dubai police anti-narcotics department, assisted by AFP and NSWPF detectives.

According to Stephen Dametto, AFP Coordinator Organised Crime and Cyber, organised crime has become a global business and a high degree of sophistication and collaboration with multi country agencies is required to combat these groups.

Nine detained and 300kg ephedrine seized in Sydney

Nine detained and 300kg ephedrine seized in Sydney


In a joint operation of the Australian Border Force (ABF) and New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) 300kg of ephedrine hidden in 50 individual consignments were seized. Ephedrine was concealed in a very highly sophisticated manner in vehicle radiators, tool boxes, wall hangings and portable coolers. This was unearthed in raids on ten homes across Sydney.

During the course of the raids the team also came across nine unlawful non-citizens who were detained.
Australian Border Force (ABF) started working on links to an organised criminal network of Chinese nationals operating in the south western suburbs of Sydney. This investigation resulted in identifying multiple imports of ephedrine from China.

Further, the criminal network of Chinese nationals was found to be responsible for importing more than 300 kilograms of ephedrine. The ephedrine was concealed within 50 individual consignments intercepted by the ABF between March 2016 and February 2017. Involvement of any Sydney based customs broker in not acknowledged.
This also happens to be the largest ephedrine seizure since the ABF was stood up in 2015. The 300 kilograms of ephedrine can be converted to 240 kilograms of ice. The street value of 240 kilograms of ice is estimated to be $240 million.

Search and seizure warrants at ten premises by ABF officers and NSWPF Drug Squad resulted in the arrest of two men from Campsie, aged 29 and 26. They were charged with importing a Tier 1 good, namely ephedrine, in contravention of Section 307.11 of the Criminal Code.

The 26-year-old, who was an unlawful non-citizen, was bailed and taken into immigration detention. His accomplice the 29-year-old was remanded in custody. For the offences charged, the maximum penalty can be 25 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $900,000.

Tim Fitzgerald ABF Regional Commander NSW gave credit for the success of operation to very effective close cooperation between law enforcement agencies at all levels.


Cocaine and meth worth $186M concealed in mining equipment seized


In a joint operation, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Border Force (ABF) tracked a consignment of mining equipment which came from South Africa to Melbourne. The team seized approximately 254kg of cocaine and 104kg of methyl-amphetamine.

Both drugs put together has an estimated combined value in excess of $186 million. In this connection four men have been arrested in Sydney and Melbourne.

Anomalies were noticed in X-ray images within an iron ore extractor of a consignment of industrial mining equipment. This was detected by ABF officers at the Melbourne Container Examination Facility. Physical examination of the iron ore extractor by ABF officers led to the discovery of 358 1kg block packages of cocaine and methyl-amphetamine. This was concealed in a load of activated charcoal within the mining equipment.

From Melbourne to a storage facility in Sydney, AFP commenced a controlled delivery. Subsequently in Sydney three men were arrested after accessing the consignment. In additional search warrants which followed on the Central Coast of NSW, AFP officers seized cash in a compressed block of AUD$100 notes. It is not known if any Sydney customs broker was involved in the processing of the documents.

The men arrested were charged under following provisions of law. Attempt to import commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, pursuant to subsection 307.1 (1), by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). Attempt to possess commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, pursuant to subsection 307.5(1) by virtue of subsection 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).These offences can attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

This successful operation is an example of the capabilities of ABF to detect even the most sophisticated concealment. The upgraded container x-ray technology has been able to penetrate through several layers of steel, machinery and coal, stones to identify these concealed packages. This is also an example of the  successful cooperation between Australia’s border and law enforcement agencies.