Three West Australian men have been charged over a plot to import more than $100 million in methamphetamine hidden in a shipment of latex pillows.
Australian Border Force officers in Fremantle examined the 550-kilogram consignment of pillows after it arrived on a container ship on December 17.
They found anomalies within the pillows, which they carefully deconstructed, revealing about 99 kilograms of meth.
They replaced the drugs with a harmless substance before the cargo was released for collection.
ABF and Australian Federal Police watched as two men allegedly picked up the boxes of pillows on December 29 and took them to a property in Maddington in Perth's southeast.
They were met by two other men, and the group unloaded the boxes into a shipping container.
Police will allege three men went to the site the next evening and entered the shipping container, where they accessed the boxes.
They were arrested as they left the property in a van, the vehicle colliding with a police car as they tried to evade authorities.
AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner John Tanti said methamphetamine prices in WA were among the highest in the country because COVID-19 border closures had helped to restrict the supply as demand remained high.
"Criminal syndicates are looking to exploit this demand and sell methamphetamine in WA to maximise their profits, they do not care about the immense harm that this drug causes," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We believe it is also no coincidence that the drugs had arrived in Perth just in time for New Year's Eve celebrations, one of the busiest nights of the year for drug and alcohol-fuelled harm.
"If this amount of meth had reached the West Australian community, the estimated total social cost would have been approximately $22.65 million - through crime, increased healthcare and justice costs, and loss of productivity."
The meth consignment was loaded onto the container ship in Asia but investigations are ongoing into the source of the drugs.
The men, aged 31, 32 and 35, have each been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug.
They faced Perth Magistrate's Court on December 31 and were remained in custody to appear again on Wednesday.