Canberra man arrested following 356kg ecstasy importation

356 MDMA

This is a joint Australian Federal Police, ACT Policing and Australian Border Force media release.

A joint Australian Federal Police (AFP), ACT Policing and Australian Border Force (ABF) operation yesterday (5 December 2017) resulted in the arrest of a 23-year-old Canberra man, following the detection of 356kg of MDMA at a Sydney air cargo facility.

The investigation began in May 2017 when ABF officers intercepted an airfreight consignment from Germany, destined for an address in Fyshwick, Canberra. The consignment contained 144 buckets labelled as chlorine, concealing bags of a white crystalline substance. A presumptive test indicated a positive reaction to methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA).

AFP officers seized the consignment and forensic testing confirmed the total weight of MDMA concealed in the consignment was 356kg. This has the potential to produce over 1.2 million tablets with an estimated street value up to $40.5 million dollars.

The AFP commenced the investigation into the intended recipient of the MDMA, who is also part of an ongoing broader organised crime investigation by ACT Policing.

Yesterday, members of the AFP, ACT Policing and ABF conducted an operation including a search warrant at a residence in Phillip, ACT, and the arrest of a 23-year-old Canberra man at a location in Lawson, ACT. The search warrant resulted in the seizure of an amount of steroids, approximately $3,000 in cash, a small amount of white powder suspected to be an illicit substance and a number of fireworks.

The 23-year-old man was conveyed to the ACT Watch House, where he was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug. He will appear before the ACT Magistrates Court this morning.

Simultaneously, ACT Policing conducted search warrants in relation to the broader criminal network and seized a commercial quantity (1.3kg) of an amphetamine type substance known as cathinone and a rifle from a premise in Wright, ACT.

AFP Manager Crime Operations, Commander Justine Gough, said the operation shows that organised crime syndicates will go to great lengths to import drugs into Australia.

“The AFP works tirelessly with our partners to reduce the harm that drugs cause by stopping them from reaching our shores and being distributed throughout our communities.”

“We want criminals involved in these operations to know that we are working to disrupt their networks, track down those involved and bring them to account,” Commander Gough said.

ACT Policing Deputy Chief Police Officer Mark Walters said the broader investigation into serious and organised crime is ongoing.  

“ACT Policing will continue to work with our partner agencies to target, disrupt and prevent the supply of drugs,” Commander Walters said.

ABF Acting Assistant Commissioner Enforcement Command, Sharon Huey, said the magnitude of this detection cannot be understated.

“Working side-by-side with our law enforcement partners we have disrupted another organised criminal syndicate, taking 1.2 million tablets of MDMA off our streets,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Huey said.

“We’re becoming used to seeing large seizures of this kind in our major cities, such as Melbourne and Sydney, but to have over 350kg destined for Canberra and surrounding regions is much more uncommon. It’s frightening to think what impact this haul could have had on the community.”

Note to media - Footage and stills relating to this matter can be dowloaded from: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/QXaMVKden6

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 6131 6333

ACT Police Media:  (02) 6264 9460

ABF Media: (02) 6264 2244

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