‘Tsunami of drugs’ stopped in raids

The Weekend Post - - Nation -

A “VI­O­LENT” Mex­i­can car­tel is one of sev­eral tar­get­ing Aus­tralia’s drug mar­ket, say lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional po­lice who busted a record haul of ice headed to the coun­try.

The seizure of 1.7 tonnes of the drug in Cal­i­for­nia on Jan­uary 9 was also the big­gest ever do­mes­tic seizure of methy­lam­phetamine in the US.

The quan­tity could have pro­duced more than 17 mil­lion drug deals, with an es­ti­mated street value of about $1.29 bil­lion, po­lice said.

“This is the largest seizure of ice bound for Aus­tralia ever. This is the largest seizure ever lo­cated in the USA,” Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Bruce Hill said in Melbourne yes­ter­day.

“We have averted a tsunami of ice to Aus­tralia.”

An­other 25kg of co­caine, worth about $9.5 mil­lion, and 5kg of heroin val­ued at $2.6 mil­lion, was also un­cov­ered in the ship­ment of 850 car au­dio parts. It has led to six ar­rests in Victoria and NSW.

Po­lice be­lieve the Mex­i­can car­tel has links to Aus­tralian­based out­law bikie gangs but would not give fur­ther de­tail.

“This is a se­ri­ous warn­ing. We now be­lieve Mex­i­can car­tels are ac­tively tar­get­ing Aus­tralia. They have been send­ing smaller amounts of ice over the years but this is now flag­ging the in­tent that Aus­tralia is now be­ing tar­geted,” Mr Hill said.

“This car­tel is among one of the most pow­er­ful and vi­o­lent drug traf­fick­ing syn­di­cates in the world.”

He said po­lice dis­man­tled a “very so­phis­ti­cated op­er­a­tion” on Thurs­day, “avert­ing a dis­as­ter for this coun­try”.

“The Aus­tralian pub­lic who are con­sum­ing ice and other il­licit drugs are as­sist­ing or­gan­ised crime to flour­ish,” Mr Hill added.

“We con­tinue to pay top dol­lar for drugs in this coun­try. This is an ab­so­lute draw­card for or­gan­ised crime.”

Po­lice ar­rested six peo­ple on Thurs­day, al­legedly in­volved with the US-based or­gan­ised syn­di­cate be­hind the ship­ment. Po­lice ex­e­cuted 10 search war­rants on Thurs­day and yes­ter­day across six Melbourne sub­urbs, re­sult­ing in the ar­rests of a man, 31, and woman, 29, of Viet­namese ori­gin, and Amer­i­can man, 52, and woman, 46.

As part of the Vic­to­rian raids, $500,000 in cash and about 6.5kg of ice was found, po­lice said.

Three raids in Syd­ney on Thurs­day led to the ar­rest of two men aged 25 and 31, and seizure of 2kg of co­caine.

Five search war­rants have also been ex­e­cuted in Bri­tish Columbia in Canada.



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