Police seize 69 kilograms of illegal drugs concealed in tea

More than $55 million worth of drugs have been seized, after 56 kilograms of methamphetamine and 13 kilograms of heroin were identified in a consignment of green tea and magnets from Thailand.

The Australian Federal Police has launched an investigation, after Australian Border Force (ABF) uncovered the illegal import.

ABF officers in Melbourne x-rayed a consignment containing 27 boxes of magnets and tea products sent via air cargo from Thailand. The x-rays indicated anomalies and further examination identified substances that presumptively tested positive to methamphetamine and heroin.

The illicit drugs have a combined estimated street value of up to $55 million.

If it reached Australian streets, this amount of methamphetamine could have been sold for approximately 560,000 street-level deals with a total estimated street value of up to $50.4 million dollars. The heroin could have been sold for approximately 65,000 street level deals with a total estimated street value of up to $5.5 million dollars.

Investigations remain ongoing and arrests are expected.

AFP Commander Raegan Stewart said the seizure demonstrated how drug smugglers used any product and method to import drugs into Australia.

“The AFP, with partner agencies, is one-step ahead and is unleashing maximum damage on the criminal environment,” Commander Stewart said.

“Drugs and drug abuse have severe consequences for the Australian community. Those with illicit substances in their system are unpredictable and it’s not just their health they are putting at risk, but those around them.

“Behind the wheel, motorists with illicit drugs in their system, are a danger to every driver on the road.

“And too many first responders, paramedics, nurses and police, have seen first-hand the danger of dealing with a person with illicit drugs in their system.

“Drug use in not a victimless crime.”

ABF Commander Aviation and Regional Operations South, Chris Holzheimer said the significant discovery was a great result for law enforcement and is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the officers of the ABF.

“The ABF are detecting large quantities of illicit substances coming into Australia on a daily basis,” Commander Holzheimer said.