Australian authorities have seized A$180 million (US$162 million) of methamphetamine stashed in a consignment of kayaks from China and arrested four Taiwanese, police said yesterday.
The 183kg haul was discovered during a joint Australian Federal Police and Customs and Border Protection Service operation at Sydney’s container port.
Border officers selected a container from China for X-ray inspection which revealed that 19 of the 27 kayaks contained packages of methamphetamine, or crystal meth.
Police then conducted a controlled delivery of the container to a storage facility in Sydney, before arresting three men and one woman — all Taiwanese — on Tuesday after they allegedly went to pick up the drugs.
A fifth person, an Australian, was arrested at his home.
“This is a great example of authorities working together to identify and disrupt criminals who are seeking to import drugs into Australia,” Sydney Federal Police Chief Commander Ray Johnson said. “The police and its partner agencies will continue to stop these harmful drugs from reaching our streets, and affecting our neighborhoods and communities.”
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Director Tim Fitzgerald said that in the past 14 months officials had seized more than 1,000kg of meth in liquid and crystal form, with a significant amount of it coming from China.
David Alton, 32, and Taiwanese woman, Lin Chieh-wei, 28, were each charged with one count of attempting to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
The other three Taiwanese — Kuo Chien-chih, 21, Shih Meng-chih, 30 and Zhao Xiung, 35 — were charged with one count each of possessing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
All five were refused bail when they appeared in a Sydney court yesterday.
They face a maximum penalty of life in jail if convicted.