ABF take ‘10 million hits’ of ice off NSW streets
A chemical that could have been used to make more than $750 million of ice has been taken off the streets after the Australian Border Force seized a tonne of ephedrine in Sydney.
Officers made the discovery during a routine search on September 10 when they noticed a number of abnormalities in a shipment of couches, tables and chairs sent from Shenzhen in China.
They found 127 boxes in a shipping container which contained 1266kg of a brown substance that was found to be ephedrine - a key component in the manufacturing of ice.
The ABF estimates the haul equates to 10 million hits of ice.
ABF acting superintendent of regional investigations John Fleming said this amount of ephedrine would have created more than $750 million worth of ice.
"What we tend to find is that the seizures (of methamphetamine and ephedrine) come in waves but we haven't seen large amounts of ephedrine like this for some time," he said.
"We have had some very big seizures of methamphetamine lately and we are now working with our partners in Australia to provide some analysis of where they are going."
Officers tracked the container to a warehouse in Roselands where two men, aged 22 and 63, were observed to be unpacking the shipment.
Both of the men are Malaysian nationals and were charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled precursor.
The older man had been in Australia on a tourist visa for "some time" while the younger had only been in the country, on a student visa, for a number of weeks before his arrest.
Following their arrests, police raided a backpacker's hostel in Haymarket, where the older man had been staying, and residential properties in Auburn and Bexley.
In recent months, ABF officers have uncovered a series of complex drug smuggling operations with items hidden inside snow globes and excavators.
However, Supt Fleming said this was not the case with the latest seizure.
"It definitely not the most sophisticated concealment we've seen, in fact, it was a fairly brazen approach," he said.
The ephedrine was packaged into circular, plastic containers before being haphazardly placed behind tables, chairs and couches.
The two Malaysian men were remanded in custody at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday and are due to appear in the Downing Centre Court on November 13.