Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers have charged a 76-year-old Canadian national who touched down at Melbourne Airport this week with over $22 million worth of crystal methamphetamine hidden in shoeboxes in his luggage.
The elderly man arrived on a flight from Los Angeles on Wednesday morning, and his large black suitcase was examined by Australian quarantine officials, who discovered a crystalline substance in about seven shoeboxes.
The man claimed the substance was salt, but
Australian Border Force (ABF) officers did a preliminary test that showed the substance to be methamphetamine.
The drug weighed about 24 kilograms, which is about 240,000 street deals.
AFP officers seized the drugs and charged the man with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The man was remanded in custody after a brief appearance in Melbourne Magistrates Court and is next expected to appear in court on September 1.
AFP Detective Inspector Chris Salmon said investigations into the origins of the crystal methamphetamine were continuing and further arrests had not been ruled out.
“It is rare that one individual can organise the purchase, importation and distribution of such a large quantity of illicit drugs; there is often an organised criminal syndicate operating behind such drug importations,” Inspector Salmon said.
“The AFP works tirelessly with its partners at the border to ensure these dangerous substances don’t reach our communities; in this instance, about 240,000 street deals were prevented.”
ABF Acting Superintendent Aviation Operations Claudine Lupton said ABF officers were detecting large quantities of illicit substances coming into Australia every day.
“Criminals will try to hide illicit drugs in a variety of ways, however our well-trained officers have many detection methods at their disposal,” Superintendent Lupton said.
“No matter how those drugs are hidden, our officers have the technology and expertise to find them.
“Ice destroys communities and tears families apart. This is a significant seizure and I hope this sends a strong message to those attempting to bring illicit drugs into the country – we will find you and you will be prosecuted,” she said.
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