$14 million find in model truck seized at Australian port

Border Force officers made the shocking discovery in the model arriving from Thailand last month.

More than $14 million worth of heroin has been uncovered inside a model truck being shipped from Thailand to Sydney.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers made the shocking discovery last month, a week after the sea cargo consignment arrived in Port Botany.

Hidden inside a metal compartment of the red and blue model truck, which weighed 100 kilograms itself, was 35 kilograms of the drug. With an estimated wholesale value of about $10 million and a street value of more than $14 million. “This amount of heroin is equal to 175,000 street deals in NSW”, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said.

The red and blue model truck sitting in a wooden box. It allegedly contains 35 kilos of heroin.
This model truck was allegedly concealing 35 kilograms of heroin. Source: AFP

AFP Forensics Crime Scenes officers were called in after the discovery on March 23 and removed the heroin from the model truck. They then reconstructed it to “avoid suspicion from alleged members of the organised crime syndicate behind this importation”.

On March 30, members of the AFP High Volume Crime Time delivered the truck to an apartment building in Haymarket where a man was arrested after accepting the delivery. Officers also searched a different address linked to the man where they seized a number of items for further examination.

Arrest sends stern warning

ABF Superintendent Jared Leighton says the arrest “sends a very strong message to those seeking profit by harming the Australian community”, that they will get caught.

“Our officers are highly trained and experienced, so even bold and audacious attempts to conceal drugs, just like this one, won’t be enough to get through our detection methods,” he said in a statement.

A ship loaded with containers at Port Botany in Sydney.
The model truck arrived in a shipping container at Port Botany in Sydney on March 23. Source: AAP

“Regardless of how these criminal syndicates try to conceal or hide these illicit drugs, the ABF will find them while those doing the wrong thing will find themselves facing the consequences of their actions.”

The AFP is working closely with its international law enforcement partners in Thailand and Laos to track the origins of the heroin and identify other members of the syndicate behind the operation.

“There is typically an organised crime syndicate behind such importations because of the complexities in sourcing the heroin, the costs in sending it to Australia and the connections needed to sell it once on shore,” AFP Sergeant Alex Drummond said.

A gloved hand holding a small bag of white powder.
The amount of heroin was equal to 175,000 street deals in NSW according to the Australian Federal Police. Source: Getty

Man charged facing life behind bars

A 21-year-old man from Laos was charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

He appeared in Downing Centre Local Court on March 31 and was refused bail. He’ll next appear in Sydney Downing Centre on Mary 24.

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