Man charged as part of investigation into drug import after 130kg of ‘ice’ located in machinery

Detectives have charged a man with drug supply as part of ongoing investigations into the alleged importation of nearly $100 million worth of methylamphetamine concealed in a one tonne machinery item.

In February 2019, the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad and the NSW Crime Commission established Strike Force Redgurnard to investigate the importation and supply of illicit drugs into NSW.

Acting on information from the NSW Police Force, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers targeted an air cargo consignment which had arrived at a Sydney freight depot from Central America in December 2019.

The consignment, which was declared to contain a large machinery item, was examined by ABF officers who noted inconsistencies.

During a subsequent deconstruction, it was found to contain 130kg of a white crystalline substance concealed within the item.

The substance was tested and returned a presumptive positive result for methylamphetamine, which has an estimated potential street value of $97.5 million.

Strike Force Redgurnard investigators, with assistance from the Australian Federal Police and ABF, seized the consignment and conducted a controlled delivery.

Following extensive inquiries, detectives executed two search warrants at a unit at Yagoona and an industrial unit at Condell Park about 7am today (Thursday 30 January 2020).

During the search warrants, police seized documents, power tools and other items relevant to the investigation.

A 26-year-old man was arrested at Yagoona and taken to Bankstown Police Station where he was charged with supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity).

Police will allege in court that the man accessed the consignment at Condell Park.

He was refused bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court tomorrow (Friday 31 January 2020).

Organised Crime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Martin Fileman, said investigations are ongoing to target those responsible for the importation.

“The Organised Crime Squad and the entire NSW Police Force is focused on working with our partners to target the criminal networks who import, manufacture and supply illicit drugs,” Det Supt Fileman said.

“We have disrupted the activities of this syndicate and we will not stop with this arrest.”

ABF Regional Commander for NSW Danielle Yannopoulos says seizures like this show the ABF’s commitment to keeping illicit substances out of Australia.

“Every day, the ABF is working with its law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those involved in attempting to import this life destroying drug into Australia,” Commander Yannopoulos said

“This result should serve as a warning to criminal groups – think twice about trying to smuggle drugs into Australia, because no matter how you try to conceal them, we will find them.”