Sneaky way criminals hid more 1.1 tonnes of cocaine worth more than $440m to get it into Australia – before the border force intercepted it
- Australian Border Force officers intercepted two containers on November 9
- Packages were labelled as shipments of rat poison, insecticide and plastics
- Officers seized combined 1.1 tonnes of cocaine with street value of $440million
- In July, ABF officers intercepted 1,800 kilograms of ice worth over $1.6billion
More than 1.1 tonnes of cocaine with a street value of $440million has been seized despite attempts to disguise the packages as rat poison and plastics.
Australian Border Force intercepted two containers sent from addresses in Switzerland and Texas at Sydney’s Port Botany on November 9.
Officers found an estimated 550kg of cocaine in each shipping container with a combined street value of $440million.
The first shipment was labelled as containing 20 pallets of ‘rat poison’ and ‘insecticide’ and had been sent from the Port of Balboa in Panama, Central America.
It was addressed to a business in Macquarie Park, about 13km northwest of the city, and had originally been sent from Basel in northwest Switzerland.
ABF officers removed 11 packages wrapped in black plastic and found black duffle bags filled with blocks of cocaine. Some were wrapped in blue tape and sported the logo of luxury jewellery brand Cartier.
A second container from Texas marked as carrying ‘plastic articles’ was also intercepted before it could it reach its recipients in Norwest in western NSW.
The container held 11 containers with black duffel bags inside which had been used to smuggle another 550kg of cocaine.
Australian Federal Police Detective Acting Superintendent Luke Wilson said the cocaine would have caused significant harm to the community if it had reached the streets.
ABF officers removed packages from the shipments wrapped in black plastic and found black duffle bags filled with blocks of cocaine
‘This seizure highlights how the strong partnership between the AFP and ABF is protecting Australians by removing these deadly substances from circulating in our community,’ Acting Superintendent Wilson said.
‘Unfortunately, Australians are willing to pay sky high prices for drugs such as cocaine and organised criminals around the world are only too willing to feed this appetite.
‘The AFP is committed to working with our partners to ensure these drugs do not enter the country and that anyone attempting to profit from ventures such as this will face justice.’
ABF Acting Commander Trade and Travels Operations East, Elke West, said criminals used a range of creative methods to sneak drugs into Australia.
‘This year alone, we have seen attempts to conceal drugs inside everything from cars to tiles,’ Acting Commander West said.
‘What we see here is another significant seizure, which goes to show that if you attempt this type of audacious criminal behaviour, you will be caught out.’
In July, ABF officers intercepted 1,800 kilograms of ice worth over $1.6billion at Port Botany – marking the largest drug bust in the country.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Luke Wilson said the cocaine would have caused significant harm to the community if it had reached the streets
They discovered 748kg of methylamphetamine hidden within marble stone placed in 24 sea cargo containers.
Police have since arrested three men aged 34, 24 and 26, who are alleged to be part of a criminal syndicate responsible for importing the drugs.
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb claimed the amount seized by officers equated to ‘7.5million individual deals of ice’.
The historic bust came after the ABF found $150million worth of ice hidden in an imported 1960 vintage Bentley S2.
The car was sent from Canada and arrived in a container at Port Botany in August.
Drugs were found hidden behind the headlights of the vehicle and a total of 161kg of methylamphetamine and 30kg of cocaine was seized.