On Monday, Australian authorities announced they have seized a $1.25 billion worth of liquid methamphetamine, or “ice”, as known in the streets. The drug bust is their largest in over two years, according to the Australian Federal Police.
More than 720 liters of methamphetamine were hidden inside gel bra inserts as well as in art supplies. Authorities said that several locations were raided in Sidney in order to capture the drug smugglers, including a shipping container sent from Hong Kong.
Four men have been arrested for the trafficking of illegal narcotics, one of which is a 33-year-old Hong Kong national charged with the original seizure of the drugs. The other three people involved, two men and a women from Hong Kong as well, have been arrested and charge in relation to the drugs located in the storage. All four of them will appear in front of a Sidney court next month. Charged with counts of importing and manufacturing commercial quantities of illegal drugs, each suspect can face a life sentence if convicted.
However, the estimated amount of the drug made by the Australian Federal Police may be a little lower than $1 billion. In fact, the AFP admitted that an upper-level estimate was used in this particular case. Still, authorities can assure that the figure can go as low as $700 million, which is an incredibly high amount of money. It’s worth remembering that any value assigned to the drugs is now arguably because they won’t hit the streets for sale.
The liquid being smuggled in the shipments could have made about 1,100 pounds of high-quality crystal meth, according to Australian Federal Police Commander Chris Sheehan. Also, officials held 4.4 pounds of crystallized methamphetamine as evidence. This major drug bust was the result of a joint investigation by Australian authorities and the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission.
“This is the largest seizure of liquid methamphetamine in Australia’s history and one of the largest drug seizures in our country’s history,” said Justice Minister Michael Keenan in an interview.
The operation began in December 2015 when the Australian Border Force examined a shipping container from Hong Kong, officials said. According to Commander Chris Sheehan, the shipping container hauled gel bra inserts and hidden inside those gel bra inserts was 190 liters of liquid methamphetamine.
During the investigation lead by the Australian Federal Police, an additional 530 liters of the illicit substance were found concealed inside art supplies, distributed around five storage units in Sidney.