Editor’s note: Images of the meth and arrest are available via hightail
The Australian Federal Police has charged a 35-year-old man from Western Sydney with allegedly importing approximately 20 kilograms of methamphetamine and 10 kilograms of cocaine in consignments labelled as small electric motors and pool pumps.
The investigation, known as Operation JOFFRE began in September 2020 after Australian Border Force officers identified consignments containing illicit drugs hidden inside electric motors.
ABF officers identified two consignments from Italy containing approximately five kilograms of cocaine each, and a further three consignments from the U.S. containing approximately 20 kilograms of methamphetamine in total.
The five consignments were brought into Australia via air cargo and were all allegedly addressed to the 35-year-old Quakers Hill man and a business address in Silverwater, NSW allegedly linked to him.
In mid-September 2020, AFP officers executed a search warrant at the business premises in Silverwater. The Quakers Hill man was spoken to by police and a number of items were seized, including an electric motor.
Forensic analysis of the items uncovered fingerprints and traces of methamphetamine. This was used as evidence allegedly linking the Quakers Hill man to the drug importations, allowing the investigation to progress to charges.
It will be alleged in court that the man used his position as a store manager to have the illicit drugs delivered to his workplace in Silverwater.
Yesterday (7 April 2021), the man attended Riverstone Police Station where he was arrested for drug trafficking offences. He was charged with:
Five counts of attempting to possess a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine and cocaine, contrary to section 307.5(1) and 307.7(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and Five counts of importing a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine and cocaine, contrary to section 307.1(1) and 307.3(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.
The man has been remanded in custody until his next court date on Wednesday, 14 April 2021 at Sydney Central Local Court.
AFP officers have been working closely with counterparts in the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations to share information and make enquiries into the origins of the illicit drugs seized in this investigation.
The AFP is continuing its enquiries and has not ruled out the possibility of further arrests.
AFP Detective Acting Sergeant Charles Pocock said every kilogram of illicit drugs brought into Australia is damaging our society, from our economy to our everyday lives.
“Transnational organised crime groups will try every means to bring illicit drugs into Australia and profit from the harm they carelessly inflict on Australians,” Det. A/Sgt. Pocock said.
“It is integral we combat the transnational drug trade through strong relationships with our domestic and international law enforcement partners. Together, we are sharing information and working to stop the spread of harm illicit drugs cause to our global community.”
ABF Aviation Goods Superintendent Matthew O’Connor said this arrest highlights the successful outcomes that can be achieved through strong cooperation between Australian and international law enforcement agencies.
“Valuable information provided by Home Affairs Intelligence and our colleagues overseas allows the ABF to identify and target specific consignments concealing illicit drugs,” Superintendent O’Connor.
“ABF officers use this intelligence, as well as technological advancements to keep on top of the variety of concealment methods criminals use to conceal illicit drugs.”
Adam Parks, Attache to Australia for U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said the nature of the international supply chain provides ample opportunities for law enforcement to detect illicit cargo.
“Working in partnership with the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force, HSI routinely provides intelligence from the U.S. perspective to identify those involved in cross-border crime. Let today’s result further dispel the myth that sending drugs across borders is a low risk activity,” Mr. Parks said.
Note to media:
Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.
For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015. Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online. For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to the Turning Point website. Media enquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297
ABF Media: (02) 6264 2211