Three Adelaide men believed to be linked to an outlaw motorcycle gang have been charged over importing $119 million worth of the drug ice into Australia.
Australian Federal Police say the 119kg haul of crystal methamphetamine arrived in Melbourne from Malaysia earlier this month, hidden in a stand designed to allow for the transport of commercial equipment.
Authorities also found about $1.5 million in cash in a similar consignment that was due to be exported from Australia to an undisclosed Asian country.
AFP says the drugs were discovered after “anomalies” in the equipment delivery led Australian Border Force officials to inspect it.
Once seized, police replaced the drugs with substitute packages and began a controlled delivery of the equipment, watching as it travelled through Victoria to a large rural property in South Australia.
A 36-year-old from Paralowie was arrested there on Saturday after trying to access the drugs.
Another two men, a 33-year-old from Kilburn and 29-year-old from Smithfield, were arrested on the weekend over the importation.
The three men, who police say are connected to an SA-base outlaw motorcycle gang, are expected to face court on Monday charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
AFP Commander and SA state manager Peter Sykora says outlaw motorcycle gangs are “very sophisticated” in how they try to import drugs into Australia.
“They are very singular in their quest to make sure that this trade brings misery upon the community,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Monday.
“All they care for is the profits derived from their drugs and also the power that they get within their criminal element.”
He said the ice seizure had prevented one million individual hits reaching the streets.
The total quantity of illegal drugs and precursors seized in Australia this year now sits at 4.4 tonnes.
The commander said this operation involved close collaboration between AFP officers, SA and Victoria police and Australian Border Force officials.