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Massive drug bust - $1B worth of ice seized -

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ELEANOR HALL: Officers from a joint police operation have announced a massive seizure of the drug ice, which they estimate has a street value of over $1 billion.

The Australian Federal Police-led operation has also led to the arrests of four people.

Our reporter Lucy Carter is at the media conference at the AFP headquarters in Sydney and joins us now.

So Lucy, just how significant is this drug seizure?

LUCY CARTER: Well Eleanor, the press conference is actually still underway behind me and we've got representatives there from - the Minister for Justice Michael Keenan there, the AFP, New South Wales Police, Border Force and Crime Commission.

So there's a significant police presence here, and they've actually been showing off the more than $1 billion of ice that they say they've seized.

They say it was actually the largest liquid seizure of the drug ice in Australian history. Over 720 litres of the substance methamphetamine, which is known by the street name of ice, was found in one of the biggest drug seizures in Australia.

Not the biggest, but one of the biggest. They believe it would have made an estimate 3.6 million hits of the drug ice, or created roughly 504 kilos of the substance ice from that liquid, with an estimated value of $1.26 billion.

ELEANOR HALL: So how did police say they uncovered this syndicate?

LUCY CARTER: Well, police say that the operation began last November, and that's when an Australian Border Force officer identified a high risk male passenger arriving in Sydney from Hong Kong.

Now that led to officers then examining a container load of shipments that was attached to his name that came in via sea.

Now within that container load, they actually found a shipment of stick-on bras, and somewhere hidden inside those bras in the gel insert, they allegedly found 190 litres of this methamphetamine or ice.

And that led to the examination of four containers in Sydney's southern suburbs in storage facilities, and there they found another 530 litres of methamphetamine that was found in art supplies, in glue containers as well as in more of these gel bra inserts.

Now the Australian Federal Police state manager for New South Wales, commander Chris Sheehan, says that the method of concealment of these drugs was very sophisticated.

CHRIS SHEEHAN: I guess what I'd say about the method of concealment both in the gel bra inserts and in the art supplies is that it proves the point that those of us in law enforcement have known for a long time - that is that organised crime are incredibly creative in terms of how they seek to move illicit commodities, including drugs, around the world.

No product is immune from their planning and their ability to bring their drugs into or introduce their drugs into it.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's the New South Wales commander of the AFP, Chris Sheehan, at that press conference this lunchtime. So Lucy, did the police say what's happened to the people that they've arrested?

LUCY CARTER: Well yes Eleanor, four people have been arrested. There was a 33-year-old Hong Kong national - the man who was originally identified as a risk at the border. Now from there, another three Hong Kong nationals have been arrested in Sydney - a 59-year-old man, a 37-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman - they've all been charged with very significant drug supply and commercial conspiracy of drug offences, and have all faced court with their initial hearings and judicial processes are underway against all of them.

And if convicted, all four of them will face life sentences within Australia. What police have particularly praised though in this operation is both of the work with all of the joint forces. As I mentioned, there is a number of different police bodies known as the Joint Organised Crime Group involved in this police operation.

But they've also been praising the work that they've been doing in China. At the end of last year, a significant number of AFP officers began work within China, and they say it is this work that has led to a successful prosecution today.

ELEANOR HALL: Lucy, thank you. Lucy Carter there, our reporter at that press conference at the AFP Sydney headquarters, talking about that massive seizure of the drug ice.