Two Woodstock residents have been arrested following a police investigation into a planned large-scale drug importation to Australia from the US.
Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police yesterday arrested six people in Victoria and NSW who are allegedly involved with an US-based organised crime syndicate believed to be behind the shipment.
The arrests follow the seizure in the US of more than 1.7 tonnes of methylamphetamine (ice), equal to more than 17 million drug deals and with an estimated street value of $1.29 billion.
The AFP said the shipment was the largest ever drug shipment bound for Australia and the largest ever domestic seizure in the US.
The investigation began as result of intelligence gathered by the Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF) about a planned large-scale drug important by a suspected syndicate operating out of California.
The taskforce enlisted the support of US authorities, who located the ice inside two large shipping containers purporting to contain audio equipment. The containers also contained 25 kilograms of cocaine, worth an estimated $9.5 million, and five kilograms of heroin, worth about $2.6 million.
The drugs were seized in California on January 9.
The Victorian JOCTF executed 10 search warrants on Thursday and Friday in Woodstock, Pakenham, Derrimut, Campbellfield Keilor Downs and Epping.
A 52-year-old American man and a 46-year-old American woman based in Woodstock were arrested after police allegedly found hundreds of thousands of dollars of proceeds of crime at a Woodstock property.
A 31-year-old man and 29-year-old woman from Keilor Downs were also arrested.
All four were to face Melbourne magistrates court today, charged with attempting to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs.
Three search warrants were also executed in Sydney on Thursday, with two men arrested.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Organised Crime Bruce Hill said the JOCTF investigation demonstrated the effectiveness of Australian and international authorities working.
“This is the biggest ever seizure of methylamphetamine – more than 1.7 tonnes – stopped before it had a chance to reach Australian streets,” he said.
“By stopping this, we have ensured criminals will not profit from the immense pain these drugs would have caused our community.”