Comments Off on Victoria METH precursor import ring busted

International students may have been duped into collecting packages as part of an elaborate scheme to import cold medicine from China to make speed and ice, police say.   Police uncovered several kilograms of the drug pseudoephedrine and 300 grams of methamphetamine in raids in Melbourne on Tuesday.   The Melbourne-based drug syndicate was importing over-the-counter medication ContacNT from China through the mail, Customs and Border Protection and Victoria Police allege.   Nine Chinese nationals, including students, were arrested in the raids, and a further six were detained by the immigration department as illegal immigrants.   Some of the students may have been innocently lured into the ring, says Customs Victoria regional director Graham Krisohos.

“They are recruited by criminal syndicates to accept a parcel and then unknowingly they are passing ContacNT to be used in the manufacture of illegal drugs,” he told journalists on Wednesday.

“That’s a warning to anyone who is approached to accept money to collect a parcel – you could be involved in a very serious criminal activity.”

It will be alleged the individuals involved were importing ContacNT into Melbourne through cargo and international mail systems and distributing it to various states to manufacture into speed and ice, Mr Krisohos said.   Sophisticated methods were used to import the drugs, hiding them in foodstuffs, camera tripods, deep fryers and paintings, Mr Krisohos said.   Testing is required to detect drugs inside professionally packaged items, as even thorough examinations do not reveal the illegal contents.   Ten kilograms of ContacNT, which is freely available in China, can make four kilograms of pseudoephedrine, which can in turn yield 2.8kg of methamphetamine.   So far, one woman has been charged with possessing a trafficable quantity of ice and bailed to attend the Heidelberg Magistrates Court on September 16.


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