Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Massive R12.2bn drug bust exposes Mexico-Australia cartel ties

Police Seized 1.7 Tonnes Of Meth Police found three types of drugs in the same shipment. Image AFP
Patty Aguilar | 08 February, 2019, 14:21

Authorities have stopped the largest-ever seizure of ice bound for Australia, carrying an estimated street value of $1.29 billion.

In 2015, Australia's government established a national taskforce to tackle the growing use of crystal methamphetamine (dubbed "ice"), which has become the most common illicit drug in the country.

It is the single largest seizure of methamphetamine heading Down Under and the largest domestic bust of the drug on United States soil. "Australian partnership is in protecting Americans and Australians alike", acting U.S. Ambassador to Australia James Carouso said in a statement.

Camera IconSix people were arrested by AFP and Victoria Police officers across two states.Picture: Supplied, AFPCamera Icon1.7 tonnes of methylamphetamine was seized in the U.S. bound for Australia. Six people were arrested in the raids. "This is now flagging intent Australia is now being targeted", he said.

United States authorities said the illicit cargo - with a street value of AUS$1.29 billion, or US$900 million - was hidden in two shipping containers carrying audio equipment bound for Australia.

"This is a serious warning, we now believe the Mexican cartels are actively targeting Australia".

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"We've got money, and we're willing to pay more for our drugs than anywhere else in the world". Police said they had found "h$3 undreds of thousands of dollars of proceeds of crime" while executing a search warrant of the couple's property.

Police arrested six people on Thursday, allegedly involved with the US-based organised syndicate behind the shipment.

The other four arrested suspects were identified as a 31-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman from another Melbourne suburb, Keilor Downs, where police recovered approximately 6.5 kilograms (14 pounds) of meth; a 31-year-old man from the Sydney suburb of Hinchinbrook, where police recovered approximately 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds of cocaine); and a 25-year-old man from another Sydney suburb, Bonnyrigg Heights.

Three of them are expected to face Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

Australian police indicated that the country's biker gangs, with deep involvement in organised crime, were willing interlocutors.

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