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Victoria Police/AFP

$1.7b Worth Of Meth Found Hidden In Canola Bottles

Two men have been charged with attempting to import methamphetamine worth almost $1.7 billion into Australia as part of a global criminal syndicate. 

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Victoria Police Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF), in collaboration with international partners, successfully prevented over six tonnes of liquid crystal methamphetamine from reaching Australia in four separate operations. 

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The AFP identified a 38-year-old Melbourne man as a key player in the operation, suspected to have connections to an undisclosed Canadian criminal network. 

Another 32-year-old man is alleged to have used his position in a logistics business to transport the drugs.

Four additional men, aged 51, 28, 26, and 19, who allegedly attempted to purchase the drugs domestically, have also been charged. 

The seized drugs were intended for the Australian market, specifically targeting Victoria and New South Wales, with an estimated 19 million individual street deals. 

The joint operation, named Operation Parkes, conducted eight search warrants across Melbourne’s CBD and western suburbs, resulting in the arrest of several individuals. 

The charged individuals face severe penalties, including life imprisonment. 

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AFP Assistant Commissioner Hilda Sirec said all of the imports bound for Australia had been substituted with harmless substances, enabling authorities to identify suspected Australian offenders and their links to international criminal organisations.

“The AFP has members based in 33 countries, and our offshore partnerships, operations and disruptions are a key strategy in diverting crime, including illicit drugs from Australia,” Assistant Commissioner Sirec said.

“The AFP is among the frontline defence of Australia, so we can help protect Australians and our way of life.”

This investigation involved the cooperation of multiple agencies, including the Australian Border Force, the Department of Home Affairs, and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill, Crime Command, said the transnational nature of this operation was “simply motivated by greed and where they could make the highest profit”.

“Unfortunately, the insatiable appetite for illicit drugs in Australia makes us a lucrative market for organised crime,” Assistant Commissioner Hill said.

“Importing these types of insidious drugs on an industrial scale ruins lives while destroying communities and families.”

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