Comments Off on Middle-aged woman living in affluent Melbourne suburb alleged mastermind of international Meth ring, police say

A MIDDLE-aged woman living in an affluent Melbourne suburb is alleged to be the mastermind of an international drug ring police say tried to smuggle in drugs worth more than $200 million.

The Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police were watching as a methamphetamine haul was delivered on Monday. They made two arrests and searched homes in Kew, Box Hill, Clayton South, Footscray and Noble Park.

More warrants were executed in Narre Warren yesterday and police are tracking other suspects across the nation and overseas.

Liquid amphetamine, drug bust, carpet cleaner

A combined cross-border police effort has led to a huge seizure of liquid methamphetamine worth more than $200 million in Melbourne. The drugs were allegedly hidden inside carpet stain remover imported from Hong Kong.


Liquid amphetamine, drug bust, carpet cleaner

Customs officials and police work through a huge seizure of liquid methamphetamine worth more than $200 million in Melbourne.


Methamphetamine 'ice' facts


A Hong Kong national, 45, from Kew, is suspected of being the “key organiser” in importing 280kg of pure methamphetamine with a street price of $205 million.

Police say the methamphetamine was found in a 6m container, suspended in liquid within 96 bottles of carpet cleaner stainer and hidden among 3332 identical bottles.
The AFP confirmed it had arrested a 45-year-old Hong Kong national, and a 31-year-old Canadian national from Footscray, in relation to the seizure.

Both face a possible maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted of importing a commercial quantity of drugs.

Another man, 45, was taken into custody and questioned yesterday.

In mid-March, before the ship left Hong Kong, Australian Customs officials assessed the ship’s cargo and marked the consignment for examination.

Australian Crime Commission intelligence led to the container being labelled a high risk before it entered Melbourne’s docks.

A joint taskforce was formed involving the AFP, Victoria Police and Australian Customs and Border Protection.

A search uncovered the illicit substance, triggering what was described as a “fast and dynamic” operation that resulted in arrests being made within 48 hours.

The ACC’s national manager (intervention) Warren Gray said it had been able to quickly provide intelligence.


Sniffer dog

A dog sniffs the contraband


“The ACC tracks the footprint of organised crime in their communications and their finance. This is the new DNA for us,” he said.

Mr Gray claimed the group that had been the target of the current operation was in “the higher echelon of threats to Australia.”

Mr Gray said crime groups with “ethnic lines” were operating in Canada and in Australia.

Victoria Police Detective Superintendent Gerry Ryan said the operation had been an example of agencies working together in the state, national and international arena.

“This operation is a prime example of a united law enforcement approach to tackling organised crime drug importations into Australia,” he said.

Customs spokesman Andrew Redman said his agency was alert to the increasingly sophisticated ways in which criminals were concealing dangerous drugs in their attempts to evade detection.

“We have the intelligence and the technology to target even the most sophisticated concealments,” Mr Redman said.






Only 96 of the 3000 bottles of carpet cleaner imported from China contained methamphetamine but the $200 million plan still came unstuck.

The international crime group imported 12,000 litres of carpet stain remover to Australia, hiding 365 litres of liquid containing methamphetamine.

Customs officers uncovered what they’ve described as a sophisticated concealment method on Saturday after receiving intelligence from the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) which had been monitoring the group.

Police tested the 3332 bottles of carpet stain cleaner when the shipment hit Melbourne, finding enough drugs to make methamphetamine with a street value of up to $205 million.

Two people have been charged over the seizure, including a Hong Kong national who police allege is the head of the international network.

ACC national manager of intervention Warren Gray described the group as being in the higher echelon of threat to Australia.

“This is a serious and organised crime international group with domestic reaching ability,” Mr Gray told reporters on Wednesday.

Australian Federal Police Melbourne office manager Scott Lee said there were ongoing inquiries domestically and internationally.

“What we do know is each time we have a seizure of narcotics into Australia that syndicates continue to evolve their concealment methods and we need to continue to respond to those challenges as best we can,” Mr Lee said.

Police allege a 45-year-old woman, from Kew, was the key organiser of the operation.

She faces charges including importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

A 31-year-old man from Footscray – a Canadian national – has been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

Both offences carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

A third man, 45, is in custody and assisting police.

Police have not ruled out the possibility of more arrests.



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