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Alleged dangerous drug import bid foiled by Customs, AFP.



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Media Release

SENATOR THE HON. CHRISTOPHER ELLISON

Minister for Justice and Customs

Senator for Western Australia

E148/04 22 October 2004

Alleged dangerous drug import bid foiled by Customs, AFP

A joint operation by Customs and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has netted the second-largest seizure in Australia of crystal methylamphetamine (“ice”) and the arrest of three men in connection with the alleged illegal importation, the Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, said today.

“The seizure of 125kg of ice, with an estimated street value of up to $100 million, is the culmination of an extensive investigation by Australia’s hard-working and determined law enforcement and border protection agencies,” Senator Ellison said.

“This joint effort by Customs and AFP has stopped a large quantity of potentially lethal drugs from reaching Australian streets,” he said.

The operation began when Customs intelligence analysts selected a sea container from China for examination which had been landed at Port Botany in Sydney. All the boxes had been declared on the manifest as containing wax candles.

When the shipment was inspected at the nearby Customs container examination facility, officers detected anomalies in some of the cardboard boxes which did contain candles.

A total of 624 candles were each allegedly found to contain approximately 200gm of ice, amounting to 125kg in total.

AFP officers yesterday arrested two men at a storage facility in Homebush and one man at a Sydney hotel near Chinatown.

Three men, all Chinese nationals, aged 38, 41 and 42, have been charged under the Customs Act 1901 with importation of a prohibited import and attempted possession of a prohibited import. They are due to appear in Central Local Court in Sydney later today.

“Our agencies deserve our thanks and congratulations for their professionalism and persistence in disrupting alleged drug traffickers in their sophisticated attempts to breach Australia’s borders,” Senator Ellison said.

“The Australian Government will maintain our tough and well-resourced approach in the fight against criminal elements bent on wrecking our society and the lives of Australians for selfish monetary gain.”

Media Inquiries: Simon Troeth (02) 6277 7260/(0439) 300 335

http://www.ag.gov.au/www/justiceministerHome.nsf