The investigation, codenamed Operation Fuchsia, began in March when ABF officers examined a sea cargo consignment upon arrival in Sydney from Mexico. The consignment comprised two containers, which held 11 diesel generators and weighed around 15 tonnes in total. An examination of the consignment revealed anomalies within the generators, and the matter was referred to the AFP.
The four charged people include a 60-year-old Nigerian-American, a 45-year-old Nigerian-Mexican, 48-year-old Nigerian-Australian, a 35-year-old Nigerian-Australian. They faced Parramatta Local Court on Saturday, June 4, 2016.
As part of the investigation, search warrants were conducted in Melbourne on Saturday morning and the 35-year-old dual Nigerian/Australian citizen was arrested, and charged later.
AFP Commander Chris Sheehan, State Manager NSW, said these arrests highlighted the commitment of law enforcement agencies and border protection agencies in combating international drug smuggling.
"The size of this seizure is an indication that organised crime groups are still seeking to target Australian users and the high price those users are willing to pay for these drugs," Commander Sheehan said.
"Our work is focused on detecting, disrupting and dismantling organised criminal networks, and bringing to account these groups that seek to bring harm our community. The success of this operation is a testament to the tenacity of the investigators who have worked on this operation for the past three months."
"Once again, we see how a successful border intercept by ABF can initiate a broader criminal investigation by law enforcement. By working together, we are able to effectively crack down on those who attempt to criminally import what was, in this case, a significant amount of harmful narcotics," Regional Commander Fitzgerald said.