Man charged over meth inside picture frames and ephedrine-laced bath bombs

A Sydney man has faced Downing Centre Local Court today (1 November, 2023) charged over allegedly importing 7kg of methamphetamine inside picture frames and drug manufacturing.

The AFP investigation began in June 2023 after receiving a report from the Thailand Airport Interdiction Taskforce (AITF) about an air cargo consignment arriving in Sydney via Bangkok.

When AITF intercepted the consignment at Suvarnabhumi Airport, they discovered six black picture frames, which contained a total of 7kg of methamphetamine.

AITF officers replaced the methamphetamine with an inert substance and the consignment arrived at Sydney International Airport on 9 June, 2023. A controlled delivery to the intended address in North Ryde was attempted, however the consignment was not collected.

Further enquiries conducted by the AFP identified a man, 24, as allegedly being linked to the consignment.

AFP officers executed a search warrant at the man’s Auburn home on 30 August, 2023. During the warrant, officers allegedly found 15kg of cocaine in cat food packaging, 5kg of an amphetamine type substance in heat-sealed foil bags, and 3.5kg of ephedrine in bath bombs.

Officers seized chemicals consistent with manufacturing methamphetamine and 25 newly-registered SIM cards.

A search warrant was also executed at a storage unit in Chullora on 1 September, 2023, with officers seizing 522 boxes of bath bombs that police will allege was a ‘cover load’ for the imported ephedrine from Vietnam.

Following forensic examinations of the man’s mobile phone, a third search warrant was executed at a postage facility in Adelaide, which led to the seizure of two bags containing ephedrine and iodine.

The man, who was refused bail on 31 August, 2023, was charged with:

  • One count of pre-trafficking a commercial quantity of controlled precursors, contrary to section 306.2(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs, contrary to sections 307.5 and 11.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

Police will allege the man was contacted by an individual in China who offered him $5000 to collect the consignment and deliver it to another person.

AFP Sergeant Alex Drummond said the range of drugs concealed across a number of properties highlighted how criminal groups tried to evade law enforcement.

“The AFP wants to paint a very clear picture for those who intend to import these harmful substances into the country – you will be arrested and charged,” Sergeant Drummond said.

“Methamphetamine and other drugs have a devastating impact on individuals and our communities which is why we’re committed to prosecuting those responsible.”

/Public Release. View in full here.