6 People Arrested After Largest US-Australian Meth Seizure in History
Posted on June 10, 2019 | By Henry | Leave a response
Australian police have arrested six people after what authorities say was the largest single seizure of methamphetamine, or ice, in the United States.
This photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows an officer extracting methamphetamine from a loudspeaker on Jan. 11, 2019 at the Los Angeles-Long Beach seaport. Australian police arrested six people after what authorities said Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 was the largest single seizure of methamphetamine in the United States and the biggest drug haul bound for Australia. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said 1,728 kilograms (3,800 pounds) of the drug were seized mid-January at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex along with smaller amounts of cocaine and heroin. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via AP) The Associated Press
By TREVOR MARSHALLSEA, Associated Press
SYDNEY (AP) — Australian police arrested six people after what authorities said Friday was the largest single seizure of methamphetamine in the United States and the biggest drug haul bound for Australia.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said 1,728 kilograms (3,800 pounds) of the drug were seized mid-January at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex along with smaller amounts of cocaine and heroin.
The drugs were hidden in metal boxes labelled as loudspeakers. Australian authorities said it was also the largest haul of the drug intercepted while bound for Australia and would have provided around 17 million hits of the substance also known as ice.
Australian authorities said that the operation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,
Drug Enforcement Agency, Australian Federal Police and Victoria state police had stopped “a tsunami of ice” from reaching their shores.
Police said that six people arrested in Australia on Thursday and Friday were tied to a U.S.-based syndicate under investigation over the drugs.
Two of those arrested are Americans: a 52-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman. Police said the raid in the Melbourne suburb of Woodstock where they were arrested also found “hundreds of thousands of dollars in proceeds of crime.”
Police said that three of those arrested would appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday, charged with attempting to import illegal drugs. Two other Australians face the same charge.
Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Bruce Hill told reporters in Melbourne that police now believe Mexican cartels are actively targeting Australia.
ABF regional commander Craig Palmer said it was “the largest meth bust we’ve ever seen in this country” and showed the “brazen nature of those involved in this criminal activity”.
The Australian Federal Police said the “insidious” drugs would have devastated communities.
They have appealed for public help to find those responsible.
Australia’s ‘ice’ problem
The powerful drug – which can be smoked, snorted or injected – became the focus of a national taskforce in 2015 to tackle its growing use.
The move followed a report by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) that found crystal meth posed the highest risk to communities of any illegal substance.
Victoria – Australia’s second-most populous state – consumes more than two tonnes of crystal meth every year, according to government figures.
“They have been sending smaller amounts over the years. This is now flagging intent Australia is now being targeted,” he said. “The cartel is among one of the most powerful and violent drug trafficking syndicates in the world.”
None of the agencies involved has further identified the cartel.
The operation also involved raids in British Columbia on Thursday by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which resulted in the seizure of “a significant quantity” of suspected proceeds of crime, police said.
Jason Halls, Victoria manager for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, said the drugs would have had an “immeasurable” impact on the Australian community. He said sewage drug monitoring data showed Victoria state — which has a population of 6.3 million — was estimated to consume just over 2 tons of ice each year.