AFP and ABF Intercept Huge Drug Haul

The AFP and ABF have seized 540 kilograms of methamphetamine in Sydney following a ‘controlled delivery,’ in one of the 10 largest drug hauls in the nation's history.

On Monday, February 27, a sea cargo consignment that arrived in Sydney from the USA was targeted and examined by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers, who discovered a white substance concealed within 396 bottles labelled as protein powder. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) then began a ‘controlled operation,’ which involved the delivery of the consignment to a unit in Smithfield in Sydney’s south west.

The drugs, with a street value of $324 million, were concealed in plastic containers purporting to be protein power, according to the AFP. They arrested seven men who arrived to pick up the shipment and charged them with drug importation. They have been refused bail.

This significant seizure occurred as a result of an intelligence operation launched after 4kg of cocaine was found in a parcel holding 17 bottles of vitamins, at the International Mail Centre in Clyde, in May last year. Subsequent intelligence analysis linked the 4kg of cocaine with a sea cargo container from the USA, and led to the detection of 540kg of the drug methamphetamine concealed within protein powder.

The AFP said officers carried out a controlled operation which involved the substitution of the drug with a harmless powder, and the delivery of the cargo to the storage facility in Smithfield. Searches were made of several other properties in Sydney's west and south-west, where weapons including an SKS assault rifle, two semi-automatic handguns, a large amount of ammunition, two revolvers, a handgun similar to what the police use, cocaine, MDMA tablets and cash were seized.

This has been the largest haul so far in 2017, with a total of 5 tonnes of methamphetamines and precursors to the drug seized in the past six months.