Record ice bust stops '17 million hits of misery' after 900kg seizure

Australia has prevented “17 million hits of misery” after a record haul of the drug ice valued at $900 million was seized in a Melbourne warehouse.

 

Photos and videos of the bust show agents cracking open the wooden planks packed with what police estimate was a record-breaking seizure of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $898 million, the AFP said.

Images provided by the AFP revealed how the drugs were packed within floorboards.

Despite the record-breaking bust, police admit they “need to do more”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised the record drug bust but said efforts to stop drug hitting the nation’s streets were ongoing.

"We will be ruthless in our efforts to stop the smuggling and the trafficking of this drug," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

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The drugs were found packed into floorboards. Source: Australian Federal Police

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Each floorboard held around 2kg of methamphetamine. Source: Australian Federal Police

WHAT WE KNOW: Australia's biggest ice bust

* More than 900kg of methamphetamine seized, the largest ice haul in Australian history
* The drugs have an estimated street value of $900M
* The "ice" was found packed in floorboards at a Melbourne warehouse
* Two men have been charged and face life in prison if found guilty
* More arrests are expected
* The seizure follows a number of record hauls that have seen organised crime syndicates smashed


Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said investigations were continuing at home and abroad with more arrests expected but wanted the community to actively educate young people.

"At this stage we are not disclosing exactly where it's come from because the investigation is ongoing. It needs to follow its natural course," AFP Assistant Commissioner Gaughan said.

"But we are confident and we are very confident we know who is responsible for the importation.

"Police are best-placed to stem the supply of illicit drugs by targeting organised crime syndicates.

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Police are still looking for these two men, seen frequenting the Box Hill area. Source: Victoria Police


"Our law enforcement effort is coordinated with the health and education sectors, who are focused on demand reduction," he said.

"It is a whole-of-community effort we need to be embracing in relation to educating our children and young people, to stop putting these illegal substances into their bodies which will kill them.”

"We need to do more there."

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said it was a serious blow to Australia's criminal class.

An estimated nine million hits were seized. Source: Australian Federal Police

"This successful result cannot be under-estimated. It is a very serious blow to organised crime around the country," Mr Keenan told reporters on Wednesday.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana said the record ice haul highlighted Australia's drug problem.

"If you look at this particular seizure, 900kg of methamphetamine and if we look at the joint agency outcomes in Victoria alone for this year, this takes it up to 1.7 tonne of methamphetamine alone," he said.

"That's not including seizures of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA and other drugs we have been seizing in large quantities as a result of our joint operations.

"That's 17 million hits of misery. We know the harm it causes. This comes back to that demand."

Investigations began in January this year, when the AFP provided intelligence to the Victoria Police Clandestine Laboratory Squad about a drug lab operating in Box Hill, the AFP said in a statement.

That led to warrants being executed on 12 properties across Melbourne's east and the seizure of approximately 40 kilograms of methamphetamine as well as drug paraphernalia, $140,000 in cash, and 175,000 contraband cigarettes.

The case was made when AFP officers searched a warehouse on Norcal Road in Nunawading.

The agents discovered about 70 boxes of floorboards, with each slat packed with approximately 2kg of crystal methamphetamine, for a total of 862.9kg.

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Police are searching for this Nissan coupe. Source: Victoria Police

Forensic testing is being conducted on the drugs to determine the exact weight and purity, police said.

In addition to the $900 million in drugs, police seized $5 million in property was also seized, including industrial and residential buildings, vehicles and more cash.

The bust is the largest ice seizure in Australian history. Source: Australian Federal Police

Police arrested two men – a 53-year-old Blackburn man and a 36-year-old Doncaster man – charging them with trafficking a large commercial quantity of methamphetamine.

They face life behind bars if found guilty.

It is the largest ice bust in Australian history. Source: Australian Federal Police

The drug lab squad are still hoping to track down two other men who they believe will helpful to the investigation, both of Asian appearance, aged in their 30s and frequent visitors to the Box Hill area.

Police have asked for people to be on the look out for a white Nissan coupe that was seen outside the warehouse in Nunawading.

Assistant Commissioner Fontana praised the collaboration between the state and local police that led to the massive drug haul.

"As long as there is demand, there will be a market and we need to stop the cycle which affects the entire community," Asst Comm Fontana said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.

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