Two men charged after 120kg of cocaine located in shipping container at Port Botany – Strike Force Biles

Drug and Firearm Squad detectives have charged two men following an investigation into the discovery of 120kg of cocaine in a shipping container.

About 11pm on Thursday (25 May 2023), officers attached to Eastern Beaches Area Command were called to a shipping container logistics company in Port Botany following reports of a break and enter.

A 27-year old man was detained by security guards after he was located among the shipping containers until police arrived and placed him under arrest. Officers were told a second man had fled the scene.

Local police commenced inquiries before State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearm Squad took carriage of the investigation under Strike Force Biles.

Strike Force Biles was established in May 2023 to investigate the supply of large commercial quantities of prohibited drugs using the “rip on, rip off” methodology of importing prohibited drugs using legitimate shipping containers.

Australian Border Force were notified and examined the container to reveal approximately 120kg of cocaine packaged in 1kg bricks stored within the walls of the container.

The drugs are estimated to have street value of approximately $60 million.

The 27-year-old was taken to Newtown Police Station where he was charged with enter enclosed lands, assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and malicious damage.

He was refused bail and appeared in Waverley Local Court on Friday (26 May 2023), where he was formally refused bail to re-appear in the same court on Tuesday 13 June 2023.

Following further inquiries – about 9pm on Friday – strike force detectives executed search warrants at three units across the Balmain and Leichhardt areas, where they located crow bars, breaking tools, gloves, bags and other items relevant to the investigation.

The items were seized to undergo further forensic examination.

During the search of a unit on Parramatta Road in Leichhardt, detectives arrested a 19-year-old man who was taken to Newtown Police Station and charged with intent to commit indictable offence, large commercial supply of prohibited drugs and attempt to possess a commercial quantity of border restricted drug.

He was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Local Court yesterday (Saturday 27 May 2023) where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday 20 July 2023.

Police will allege the men had travelled from Athens, Greece, to access – or “rip” – the drugs from the legitimate container on behalf of local criminal associates.

Drug and Firearm Squad detectives continue to work closely with Australian Border Force and Australian Federal Police as inquiries under Strike Force Biles continue.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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