A joint investigation involving the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Western Australia Police (WA Police) commenced in June after a sea cargo consignment containing timber logs arrived in Perth from Africa. An x-ray examination of the consignment by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers identified concealment within nine timber logs.
ABF referred the matter to police, and a forensic examination was conducted. A total of 106 secreted packages containing around 45.6kgs of methamphetamine were detected. This amount of methamphetamine has an approximate street value of $45.6 million.
In late June, a joint agency controlled operation commenced and the consignment was delivered to an address in Baldivis, Western Australia. As a result of the operation, a 42-year-old man and a 54-year-old man were arrested and charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5 Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), by virtue of section 11.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
Subsequent enquiries revealed a further two men were allegedly involved in the importation. In late July, search warrants were conducted in Western Australia and Victoria. A 33-year-old man was arrested in Western Australia, and a 29-year-old Nigerian man was arrested in Victoria, and then extradited to Western Australia.
Both men were charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
The 42-year-old man is due to reappear in the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 31 August 2016. The 29-year-old, 33-year-old and 54-year-old men are due to reappear in the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court on Wednesday, 16 November 2016.
AFP Commander Matt Rippon, State Manager WA, said close collaboration between border protection and law enforcement agencies across Australia was integral to the success of this operation.
"Strong relationships with our domestic and international partners are vital to identifying and disrupting importations of this extremely damaging drug,” Commander Rippon said. "We are continuing to work together across jurisdictions and borders to break criminal networks, with our main priority being the safety of the community."ABF Regional Commander WA Rod O’Donnell said the AFP and ABF are resolute in their commitment to stemming the flow of this illegal and dangerous drug into Australia.
"This seizure is yet another example of the ABF’s success in targeting large shipments of methamphetamine arriving in air and sea cargo,” Commander O’Donnell said. "A detection of this size and the subsequent Police operation has a direct benefit to the Australian community by stopping this product reaching the streets."WA Police State Crime Assistant Commissioner Michelle Fyfe said the seized drugs had the potential to cause immense harm in the Western Australian community.
"We are pleased that this significant quantity of methamphetamine has been seized before it could reach our streets," Mrs Fyfe said.