Australian police seize record 1.9 tons of meth found in marble tiles

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The seizure of methamphetamine is the largest in Australia history, police say (NSW Police )
The seizure of methamphetamine is the largest in Australia history, police say (NSW Police )

Australian police have seized a record 1.8 metric tonnes of methamphetamine that was hidden in marble tiles shipped from the Middle East to Sydney.

The “staggering” discovery is the largest meth bust in Australian history, New South Wales Police said.

“This seizure will be felt for weeks to come by many high, mid and lower-level suppliers,” detective chief superintendent John Watson said.

Three men were arrested after 748 kilograms of the drug were found earlier this month hidden in 24 containers that arrived at Port Botany, officials said on Friday.

Another 1,060kg of meth were found in 19 containers that arrived at the same port last week.

The drugs were hidden in the same method and were all shipped from the United Arab Emirates.

All the containers were destined to be sent to a factory in western Sydney that had been set up to quickly extract meth from marble, Mr Watson said.

Police do not know how often the factory had been used.

“The audacity of these individuals to think they could import such vast quantities of harmful drugs into Australia is astounding,” said ABF Assistant Commissioner East, Erin Dale.

“Let’s be clear: this is the largest seizure of methylamphetamine at the Australian border and therefore a massive blow to organised criminals.

Police estimate the meth’s street value at £943 million.

Meth users pay much higher prices in Australia and New Zealand than users do in many comparable countries.

Mr Watson described the quantity of meth as “staggering”. No further arrests have been made since last week’s seizure.

Investigators have turned their attention to identifying the overseas suppliers.

“The Middle Eastern region is probably our main focus,” Mr Watson said.

“But I certainly wouldn’t restrict our investigation to just that region.”

Methamphetamine was found hidden in marble tiles sent from United Arab Emirates (NSW Police)
Methamphetamine was found hidden in marble tiles sent from United Arab Emirates (NSW Police)

The three men already arrested - aged 24, 26 and 34 - face potential life sentences in prison if convicted of drug trafficking.

They have appeared in court and have been refused bail.

Australia’s previous record meth haul was 1.6 metric tonnes hidden in speakers and shipped into Melbourne from Bangkok in April 2019.

Three Melbourne residents were charged with drug offences.