Victoria’s second largest liquid meth haul worth $80.7m seized

Investigations are underway following the seizure in Melbourne of almost 540 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine, worth an estimated $80.7 million.

The border controlled drug was discovered concealed inside a shipment of thousands of canola oil bottles sent from Mexico to Melbourne.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers identified the suspicious consignment spread across two shipping containers when it arrived in Victoria on Thursday, 31 March, 2021.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers seized the shipment, which contained a total of 9,360 canola oil bottles.

Forensic testing later confirmed 269 of the bottles contained an estimated 538 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine rather than canola oil.

The liquid methamphetamine seizure is the second largest in Victorian history, following AFP-led Operation ZEELANDIA in November 2020 which saw more than 560 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine seized and four alleged members of a transnational criminal syndicate charged.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Rebecca Goddard said the seizure was another example of the extreme lengths organised criminal syndicates can go to in order to import illicit substances into Australia.

“Australian authorities continue to slam the brakes on the movement of illicit drugs across international borders and into our communities,” she said.

“This multi-million dollar seizure is another strong warning to organised criminal syndicates, both here and abroad, that the AFP and its Commonwealth and state law enforcement partners remain committed to identifying, targeting and prosecuting you.”

“Detectives are now working to trace the criminal syndicates connected to this shipment and we are calling for anyone with information relating to the investigation to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

ABF Regional Commander Craig Palmer highlighted the unique skill set of ABF officers when it comes to detecting threats at the border. 

“The ABF’s technical expertise and sophisticated technology means that we will find the drugs, regardless of the method of concealment,” he said.

“If criminal organisations have thought of it, chances are, we have seen it.”

“Working together with law enforcement partners increases our reach so we can disrupt criminal activity like this one, to keep the community safe from harmful drugs.”