Border Force officers in Sydney have seized hundreds of kilograms of the drug ice, with an estimated street value of $AUS 94.5 million, OR 2.3 Billion THB, hidden inside electric barbecue grills and water heaters.
Sixty-two cardboard boxes were intercepted at Port Botany on May 4 after arriving as sea cargo from Thailand.
However, Border Force officers “noted inconsistencies” and found 316 kilograms of a crystallised substance inside after a “deconstruction” of the items.
“The substance was tested and returned a presumptive positive result for methylamphetamine (ice), which has an estimated potential street value of $AUS 94.5 million,” police said in a statement on Monday.
Police said the crystallised substance returned a presumptive positive result for methylamphetamine.
Photographs of the shipment show packages of a substance wedged inside a white water heater, and dozens of boxes containing “2 in 1” grills or 34-centimetre black “multi-function roast” pots.
Thailand’s Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) says that they have identified the company behind the shipment of methamphetamine to Australia.
ONCB secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol said the cargo had been loaded on a Chinese vessel, which left Laem Chabang on March 25.
“The cargo was then transferred to a Portuguese vessel in Singapore and arrived in Australia on April 30,” he said.
He added that the ONCB and Narcotics Suppression Bureau is investigating to see whether the company that shipped the cargo was involved in drug trade or if it had been hired by someone else.
“The board will investigate and confiscate assets from all involved in line with the Justice Ministry’s policy,” he said.
He added that ONCB will also meet with representatives of the Australian Federation Police in Thailand to exchange information in a couple of days.
“We will announce any progress that is made as soon as possible,” he added.