Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 June 2019

Record Australian drug seizure concealed in stereo speakers

Nearly 1.6 tonnes of 'ice' were found in a shipment sent from Bangkok

The record methamphetamine seizure by the Australian Border Force was hidden in stereo speakers shipped from Bangkok. Australian Border Force via AP
The record methamphetamine seizure by the Australian Border Force was hidden in stereo speakers shipped from Bangkok. Australian Border Force via AP

Australian officials have seized the nation's largest haul of methamphetamine at the Melbourne waterfront, nearly 1.6 metric tonnes of the illegal drug hidden in stereo speakers shipped from Bangkok.

The Australian Border Force said the drugs were in a form known as crystal meth, or ice, and were seized along with 37 kilograms of heroin. They had an estimated street value of 1.2 billion Australian dollars ($835 million) and AU$19 million ($13 million) respectively, it said in a statement on Friday.

Police have yet to make an arrest, it said.

Part of the record methamphetamine seized by the Australian Border Force. Australian Federal Police via AP
Part of the record methamphetamine seized by the Australian Border Force. Australian Federal Police via AP

ABF Regional Commander Craig Palmer said the seizure would have a significant impact on the supply of the drug in Victoria state.

"This is the largest meth bust we've ever seen in this country and demonstrates not only the brazen nature of those involved in this criminal activity, but the resolve of the ABF in Victoria and around the country to stop these imports," he said.

“Last financial year the ABF made 43,000 detections of illicit drugs weighing more than 11.8 tonnes – so this seizure is equal to more than 13 per cent of the total drugs we seized last financial year.”

Australia is increasingly being targeted by international drug cartels because of its relatively high prices for illegal drugs. Illicit drugs other than marijuana had been seen as primarily a problem of large cities, but ice is now having a devastating effect on regional and rural communities.

Thai deputy police spokesman Col Krissana Pattanacharoen said police in Bangkok had just received reports of the drug seizure and were ready to co-operate with Australian police.

A US State Department report this year said Thailand was not a major producer of illegal drugs but was a destination and a transit point for trafficking.

Updated: June 7, 2019 03:56 PM

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