Australian Federal Police (AFP), with the assistance of Australian Border Force (ABF), have dismantled an alleged drug syndicate smuggling methamphetamine into Australia, after arresting three men in Western Sydney.
The three arrests are the culmination of an investigation launched in late 2019 by organised crime investigators based at the AFP’s Southern Command in Melbourne.
They come two months after an alleged fourth syndicate member was arrested in Sydney, when he allegedly tried to import a large consignment of methamphetamine unaware that police were watching.
Police will allege the Sydney-based group set up fake companies using fraudulent identification to import illicit drugs in an air cargo consignment from Malaysia.
ABF officers found 180 kilograms of methamphetamine when they searched a consignment of refrigerated air dryers, which arrived in Sydney from Malaysia.
Each of the nine metal units allegedly held 20 vacuum sealed packets, all containing about one kilogram of a white crystalline substance that tested positive to methamphetamine.
The drugs had an estimated street value of up to $135 million.
AFP officers traced the consignment to an address in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria.
Investigators seized a phone and fraudulent documents allegedly used to plan the importation and an estimated $250,000 in cash during the search.
Ongoing inquiries resulted in investigators executing search warrants at the homes of three other alleged syndicate members in Western Sydney.
Police allegedly found a large number of fraudulent identity documents, mobile telephones, two firearms, ammunition and a ballistic vest during the warrants.
The three men, aged 20, 25 and 30, were each charged in relation to the importation of commercial quantities of drugs.
Police will allege the trio, and the man arrested previously, worked together to create the false companies and documents that were later used to import the methamphetamine.
They then arranged the collection of the methamphetamine from a freight forwarder in Alexandria for later distribution.