According to a joint press release by the authorities, the 1,633-kilogram drug delivery was initially found hidden inside stereo speakers in April, and had been shipped to Australia from Bangkok, Thailand.
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) December 5, 2019
The release further revealed that two men, aged 27 and 38, and a 71-year-old woman were involved in the smuggling of over 1.6 tonnes of drugs, which is equivalent to about 16 million drug deals, making it the “largest seizure of heroin in Australia since 2017.”
ABF officers found the 1.6 tonnes of methamphetamine and 37 kilograms of heroin in vacuum-sealed packages placed inside the speakers during a cargo inspection at the Melbourne Container Examination Facility in April.
The estimated value of the methamphetamine and heroin is about $818 million and $12.6 million, respectively. The press release notes that the “maximum penalty for these offenses is life imprisonment.”
“Australian law enforcement agencies are committed to combating the hold organized crime has on Australia to keep dangerous drugs off our streets and out of our homes,” AFP Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan is quoted as saying in the press release.
“It will be alleged that two of the three suspects charged are trusted industry insiders, and that this joint operation has identified and removed serious vulnerabilities from the Melbourne waterfront – and we could not have done this without the support and assistance of the public,” he added, also noting that Australia is a “lucrative market for drug traffickers.”
According to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine is a “powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.” Heroin is processed from morphine and is a highly addictive opioid drug derived from poppy plants.