SYDNEY, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) — A massive 645 kg of the drug MDMA has been seized in Sydney, with the narcotics concealed in the false floors of barbecues, authorities revealed on Tuesday.
Two men, a 30-year-old from Australia and 33-year-old from Canada, have been charged with crimes related to the distribution and importation of the drugs.
The shipment was uncovered as the result of an investigation which spanned three countries and involved the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), the Cyprus Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) and the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (NCA).
Acting on information supplied by the investigation, ABF officers seized a consignment of 200 aluminium barbecues earlier in the year, which were found to contain a “brown crystalline substance,” later shown to be MDMA.
Investigators replaced the narcotics with a benign substance and allowed the barbecues to be delivered to a warehouse in Sydney, where they remained for over three months.
After that time, it is alleged that the two men attempted to access the narcotics, with the Australian intending to distribute them and the Canadian acting as a liaison for the criminal group behind the delivery. They were both later arrested.
ABF Regional Commander for NSW Danielle Yannopoulos said that criminals should be aware of the sophisticated technologies at authorities disposal, and understand that if they attempt to smuggle narcotics they will be caught.
“Our officers continue to prove, time and time again, that criminals who attempt to hide these substances are wasting their time. We have invested heavily in our technological capability in recent years, and our officers can see further into these containers than ever before,” Yannopoulos said.
“Just this year, we’ve found illicit substances in professionally manufactured car parts, fridges, furniture, and even an excavator,” Yannopoulos added.
The Australian man was charged with one count of attempt to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, while the Canadian faces one count of aid, abet counsel or procure an imported border controlled drug.
If found guilty, both men face a maximum sentence of life in prison under Australian law.