‘Tsunami of drugs’ stopped in raids
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.
THIS IS A SERIOUS WARNING. WE NOW BELIEVE MEXICAN CARTELS ARE ACTIVELY TARGETING AUSTRALIA
ASST COMMISSIONER BRUCE HILL