US Australia meth bust estimated $1.29 billion.
Police are warning the seizure of a record-breaking $1.29 billion ice haul in the United States is a sign that “powerful and violent” Mexican drug cartels are focusing their trade on Australia.
The estimated $1.29 billion of ice is the largest-ever seizure of the drug in the United States and the largest-ever seizure of meth bound for Australia.
Police said the drugs could have led to more than 17 million drug deals.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Victorian police officers have arrested six people in Victoria and New South Wales as part of the case.
They have been charged with various offences, including importation and possession of commercial quantities of illicit drugs.
The AFP said the bust related to 25 kilograms of ice discovered in a car in country Victoria last year, which led police to a drug house where two tonnes of drug-related chemicals were found.
“The suspect was linked to organised crime, outlaw motorcycle gangs,” Assistant Commissioner Bruce Hill said.
“[Investigators] were able to identify a suspect syndicate operating in Victoria believed to be importing a very large consignment of drugs.”
Drug haul discovered in California
He said they worked with their US counterparts, and traced the consignment to California on January 9.
They uncovered 1.7 tonnes of ice, 25kg of cocaine and 5kg of heroin hidden in 800 electrical capacitors in two containers destined for Melbourne.
“This is the largest seizure of ice bound for Australia ever, I [especially] note this is the largest seizure of ice ever located in the USA,” Assistant Commissioner Hill said.
“If this shipment had made it to the streets it would have equated to 17 million hits of ice. We have averted a tsunami of ice to Australia.”
Video released by the AFP shows a number of boxes containing large white bricks of the drug, and three people being taken into custody.
Mexican cartels ‘actively’ targeting Australia
Assistant Commissioner Hill said the attempted importation marked a dangerous turning point for Australia.
“This is a serious warning, we now believe the Mexican cartels are actively targeting Australia,” he said.
“They’ve been sending smaller amounts over the years, this is now flagging the intent Australia is now being targeted.
“The cartel is among one of the most powerful and violent drug trafficking syndicates in the world.”
Victoria Police officers yesterday conducted simultaneous raids in six suburbs across Melbourne and executed three search warrants in New South Wales.
“We executed 10 search warrants in Woodstock, Pakenham, Derrimut, Campbellfield, Keilor Downs and Epping and in New South Wales we conducted three search warrants in Bonnyrigg Heights, Mount Pritchard and Hinchinbrook,” Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh said.
A 52-year-old American man, a 46-year-old American woman based in Woodstock, a 31-year-old man, and 29-year-old woman of Keilor Downs were charged.
They were due to face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today.
Victoria Police planned to extradite two men, aged 25 and 31, from New South Wales who were allegedly involved with the US-based crime syndicate under investigation over the shipment.