Three men have been charged by the Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF) for an alleged attempt to import 140 kilograms of methamphetamine into Australia concealed in catering equipment.
The men faced Melbourne Magistrates Court via video link on Wednesday (17 November 2021) and were remanded in custody, accused of facilitating the importation of the drugs from Canada into Melbourne.
The drugs have an estimated value of more than $88 million if sold as individual street deals.
The Victorian JOCTF consists of members of the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Department of Home Affairs.
The investigation began after the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) identified a suspicious air cargo shipment in Toronto bound for Melbourne. Closer examination revealed 140 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed inside an industrial dough mixing machine.
The investigation into the drug trafficking plot was greatly aided by intelligence provided to the AFP by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department.
The JOCTF began an investigation into the suspected syndicate responsible for the attempted import destined for Melbourne.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and CBSA obtained approval for an international controlled operation to allow the consignment to be delivered to the intended recipients in Australia, facilitated through the AFP’s International Network.
The consignment arrived in Melbourne on 5 October 2021, where it was cleared for release and moved to a storage location in Tullamarine.
Police monitored the consignment as it was moved to multiple locations in Melbourne in what police will allege was a sophisticated attempt by the people responsible to identify any law enforcement interest.
On Wednesday (17 November 2021) police arrested the three men – aged 29, 33 and 37 years – and executed seven search warrants in Keilor East, Williamstown, Ravenhall, Bonnie Brook, Maribyrnong, Sunbury and West Footscray.
During the warrants officers seized significant amounts of cash, estimated to be in excess of $1.5 million, various quantities of drugs, a handgun, two long arm firearms, ammunition, a motorbike and a used clandestine laboratory at a rural address containing drug manufacturing equipment. These items will all be subject to further forensic analysis.
Information and images sourced from here.