Third man charged over plots to import 100kg of meth and 1 tonne of prohibited precursor

A 39-year-old freight forwarding worker has been charged over his alleged role in a plan to import 100 kilograms of methamphetamine from Canada.

He is the third Sydney man charged following a joint Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force investigation into a transnational drug trafficking syndicate. The investigation has also resulted in the seizure of 1 tonne of Methylamine – a chemical compound used to manufacture methamphetamine and MDMA.

Taskforce Vanguard, which comprises AFP and ABF members, launched Operation Dagger in October 2021 after the Canadian Border Service Authority allegedly found 100kg of methamphetamine inside a commercial dough mixer. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers seized the shipment and replaced the illicit drugs with a harmless substance, before forwarding the consignment to NSW.

AFP officers organised for the consignment to be delivered as planned to a property in Wentworthville in October 2021. The investigation resulted in the arrest of a 37-year-old Punchbowl man who police will allege organised the importation. He was charged with attempting to import and possess a commercial quantity of methamphetamine and is next due in Sydney Central Local Court on 13 April 2022.

Police also searched a commercial premises in Caringbah, where they found a second illicit consignment.

Forensic testing of 40 plastic bags containing about 1 tonne of a powdery white substance allegedly revealed it was methylamine. Methylamine is a prohibited precursor and is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine and MDMA.

AFP officers replaced the methylamine with an inert substance and delivered it to an address in Wetherill Park in early December 2021.

A 28-year-old Liverpool man was arrested later that day and charged with providing material assistance to a criminal group. He is next due to face Campbelltown Local Court on 20 April 2022.

Further investigations led to the arrest of the 39-year-old man in Beecroft on 30 March 2022.

Police will allege the man used his role at a freight forwarding company to facilitate the methamphetamine importation. During the search warrant police seized electronic devices including a mobile phone and laptop, on which they allegedly found evidence relating to the drug importation.

AFP Detective acting Sergeant Nicole Whelan said this investigation demonstrates the AFP’s commitment to protecting the Australian community by bringing these criminals to justice.

“This investigation should send a clear and lasting message to criminals that the AFP will not rest in the fight against organised criminal syndicates illegally importing drugs,” Det a/Sgt Whelan said.

“Community safety is a priority for the AFP and this operation has successfully prevented a significant quantity of hazardous drugs reaching our streets.”

AFP Detective Superintendent Andrew Bailey thanked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for their continued partnership.

“This outstanding operational outcome was achieved through close collaboration with RCMP and demonstrates the effectiveness of AFP officers posted overseas and RCMP Liaison Officers in Canberra,” Det-Supt Bailey said.

“A significant component of Australia’s organised crime threats are based offshore or have substantial offshore links.”

“The AFP’s International Network will continue to lead the work Australian law enforcement conducts offshore, impacting the global criminal environment and safeguarding our community.”

ABF Inspector Investigations, Tony Wheatley, said detecting and disrupting criminal activity within the supply chain is key operational priority for the ABF.

“The ABF is committed to working with our partner agencies both in Australia and internationally to stop criminal groups who attempt to use positions of trust to circumvent border controls,” he said.

“These arrests should serve as a warning to anyone working in the supply chain who thinks they can use their position to benefit criminal enterprise – the ABF and our partner agencies are watching and you will be caught.”

The 39-year-old man has been charged with:

  • one charge of attempt to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1(1), by virtue of subsections 11.1(1), of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • one charge of supporting a criminal organisation contrary to section 390.4(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is imprisonment for life and five years’ imprisonment, respectively.

He is next due to face Hornsby Local Court on 13 April 2022.

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