The ice haul, valued at almost $900 million, was discovered hidden in floorboards shipped in 70 boxes to Melbourne during a joint operation by Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police.
A 53-year-old Blackburn man and a 36-year-old Doncaster man have been charged with trafficking in a commercial quantity of illegal narcotics.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana said the massive ice haul highlighted the scale of Australia’s illicit drug problem.
“If you look at this particular seizure, 900kg of methamphetamine and if we look at the joint agency outcomes in Victoria alone for this year, this takes it up to 1.7 tonne of methamphetamine alone,” he said
“That’s not including seizures of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA and other drugs we have been seizing in large quantities as a result of our joint operations.
“That’s 17 million hits of misery. We know the harm it causes. This comes back to that demand.”
News of the ice seizure comes after a recent national study of wastewater confirmed methylamphetamine use is soaring.
Secret tests of sewerage by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission found ice is the most popular illicit drug in the country, with levels of use in WA far outstripping the rest of the nation.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said while police were seizing record amounts of drugs more needed to be done to help Australia kick its habit.
“It is a whole-of-community effort we need to be embracing in relation to educating our children and young people, to stop putting these illegal substances into their bodies which will kill them,” he said.
“We need to do more there.”
The use of floorboards to hide Australia’s biggest single seizure of ice was described by police as “quite unique” and complex.
Two kilos of ice was hidden between each of the floorboards, which were discovered in a warehouse in Nunawading in Melbourne’s east in February.
Police had been working on tip-offs gathered during an investigation that began in January into a drug syndicate, which resulted in the seizure of 40kg of methamphetamine, 175,000 cigarettes and also $140,000 in cash and other contraband.
The ice is believed to have been shipped from Asia and while police won’t reveal exactly where they “are confident” they know who is responsible.
The 36-year-old man charged in relation to the haul is due to face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on June 2, while his 53-year-old co-accused is due in the same court on June 8.
Police are also searching for two other men, believed to be of Asian appearance and who may know more about the drug syndicate behind the ice shipment.
They are also trying to find a white Nissan coupe believed to be associated with the warehouse where the floorboards filled with ice were found.
“We will be ruthless in our efforts to stop the smuggling and the trafficking of this drug,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
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