Federal police claim to have stopped tens of millions of dollars worth of amphetamines flooding into WA by smashing an alleged drug syndicate that was manufacturing and smuggling big amounts of the drug across the country.
Raids in Perth, Sydney and Queensland linked to two alleged drug traffickers netted almost $2.5 million cash, 100kg of amphetamine-type substances and chemicals used to manufacture the drugs as well as drug-making equipment.
The Australian Federal Police sting started when a probe into money-laundering led investigators to 12.5kg of methamphetamine hidden in a package sent from Sydney to Perth.
Investigators seized the drugs and substituted them with another substance, then swooped on a Gold Coast man on Sunday after he arrived in Perth and allegedly took possession of the illicit freight consignment.
Police also raided properties in Queensland linked to the 41-year-old and found about $1 million cash, mobile phones, chemicals and equipment used to make methamphetamine.
A 35-year-old Sydney man who allegedly assisted the shipment of the methamphetamine to Perth was also arrested.
The AFP said it took investigators two days to search the man's home because of the big amount of drugs, manufacturing equipment and chemicals.
During the search and at another property linked to the Sydney man, they also discovered a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition, several BlackBerry mobile phones and about $1.5 million cash.
AFP Commander Scott Lee said eight raids in the three States had uncovered about 50kg of methamphetamine, 15kg of what police suspect are methamphetamine tablets, 20kg of ephedrine, 10kg of a powder suspected to be pseudoephedrine and various "precursor" chemicals.
Authorities said the substances were still being tested to determine their purity.
Based on the Australian Crime Commission's latest illicit drug data report, which says a 0.1g "street deal" of amphetamine costs about $100, the 50kg of methamphetamine alone could have a street value of about $50 million.
When the ACC released the report this week, it said the accessibility, affordability and destructive side-effects of methylamphetamine had emerged as the major drug-related problem confronting authorities.
Cdr Lee said the investigation had "struck a significant blow" to an organised crime syndicate that was actively operating across Australian borders.
WA Police and their counterparts in NSW and Queensland helped the AFP with the operation, codenamed Peregrin.
The two men have been charged with attempting to traffic commercial quantities of controlled drugs.
The Queensland man appeared in court on Monday and has been remanded in custody to face court on May 9.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The AFP has not ruled out further arrests.