Three people, including two customs agents, have been charged with drug offenses in connection with Australia’s largest seizure of methamphetamine, a bust worth more than $1 billion Australian dollars (€616 million, $683 million US).
The record haul of more than 1.6 tonnes (1.75 tons) of methamphetamine (also known as crystal meth or “ice,”) and 37 kilograms (82 pounds) of heroin was smuggled in stereo speakers shipped from Thailand and discovered in Melbourne by Australian Border Force officers in April.
Two men, aged 37 and 38, and one 37-year-old woman appeared in court on Thursday in Melbourne and were charged with drug importation offenses. Drug offenses carry potential life imprisonment sentences, police said.
Position of trust
“Two of the three were customs agents. They are trusted insiders within the industry,” said Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner Neil Gaughan.
“They used their position of trust to circumvent the border controls that exist within Australia,” he was quoted as saying by Australia’s national broadcaster ABC.
Gaughan added that the three were private contractors, not government employees.
The three were arrested following police raids on several Melbourne properties.
Australia is known as a popular market for international drug traffickers because of the relatively high prices drug users in the country are willing to pay.
mmc/se (AP, AFP, dpa)
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