Victoria Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF) seized 275 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, with a street value of around $275 million and charged eight men responsible for the importation of the illicit drugs into Australia. The accused include one Malaysian and seven Australian citizens.
The Victoria JOCTF consists of trained specialist from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police (VicPOL), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Border Force (ABF).
Investigations started following intelligence inputs on a syndicate bringing in drugs concealed in marine containers. JOCTF intercepted and searched three marine containers. They found approximately 275kg of crystal methamphetamine concealed under the floorboards of these three shipping containers
In a controlled operation, the containers were delivered to an industrial estate in Bayswater. Following this a number of people accessed the containers. JOCTF executed search warrants in the Melbourne suburbs of South Yarra, Braybrook, Bayswater, Brunswick, Box Hill and Glen Waverley.
Following this seizure, eight men aged between 24 and 34 were charged. Out of this, three were charged with commercial drug importation offences and five for attempting to possess and trafficking of methamphetamine. The offence can attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. It is not known if the drug cartel used the services of a Sydney customs broker to clear the containers.
According to Ian McCartney Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner and National Manager Organised Crime and Cyber, the persistence and dedication of police and partner agencies resulted in this successful operation. Because of this two and a half million hits of this insidious drug did not reach the streets. AFP was supported by Chinese authorities on Taskforce Blaze. This in particular investigates criminal syndicates trafficking ice to Australia and internationally.
Cooperation between various agencies at the national and international level is required to book drug syndicates. At the same holistic approach is required to reduce consumption of drugs and bring down demand.