The second biggest MDMA haul in history
AN INTERNATIONAL drug ring attempting to supply one of the biggest hauls of the party drug MDMA in Australian history has been dismantled by police in Sydney.
The ring - which originated in Korea - was allegedly traced back to drug dealers attempting to operate in Wentworth Point, Cabramatta, Carlingford, Rooty Hill, Malabar and Kingsford.
More than a tonne of MDMA - or ecstacy - was seized by Australian Border Force (ABF) authorities in a suspicious shipping container sent from Seoul in mid-January.
It is believed the drugs had an estimated street value of more than $200 million.
AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Eastern Command Justine Gough said the seizure was the second biggest ever made in Sydney.
"This seizure is one of the largest in Australian history and the MDMA powder, if pressed into tablets, could have produced more than three million tablets - it demonstrates the lengths that organised crime syndicates will go to in order to supply the Australia market," Acting Assistant Commissioner Gough said.
The pallets contained 648 plastic tubs labelled as tile adhesive which subsequently tested positive as the drug.
Each tub contained 6kg of MDMA powder weighing in at 1053kg.
Five men allegedly behind the drug ring have been arrested, including two Canadian nationals and a Hong Kong man. All five men were charged with drug offences.
Police allege the pallets were delivered to Camperdown at the end of January, where a 27-year-old Canadian took delivery.
The Rooty Hill man allegedly met with another Canadian national and over the next month extracted portions of the drug for supply. The MDMA portions were then allegedly given to a 29-year-old Hong Kong national from Kingsford.
It will be alleged this man was responsible for distributing the drug to other people in Sydney for sale on the streets.
The Canadian nationals were charged with drug importation and attempting commercial drug supply. The Hong Kong man was charged with drug trafficking and possession.
The drug bust led police to the apartments of people believed to be attempting to distribute drugs in Carlingford, Wentworth Point, Cabramatta and Cabramatta West, Kingsford, Rooty Hill and Malabar.
At the Carlingford and Wentworth Point addresses, police allegedly seized MDMA, cocaine and material alleged to be substituted MDMA removed from the original shipment as well as electronic devices and ammunition.
At the Cabramatta West and Cabramatta addresses, police allegedly located and seized substances suspected to be MDMA, cocaine and approximately three kilograms of methamphetamine.
Police say they also seized an estimated $250,000 in cash, two loaded firearms - including an automatic shotgun with a drum magazine and a Browning 9mm semi-automatic pistol - false identification material and ammunition.
A 22-year-old man from Cabramatta West and a 26-year-old Carlingford man were each charged with drug offences and the possession of guns and ammunition.
On Monday, homes in Rooty Hill, Kingsford and Malabar were raided and the three men allegedly behind the ring were arrested.
The two Canadian nationals were arrested at the Rooty Hill premises, where police located and seized approximately 110 tubs from the consignment, electronic devices and packaging materials.
The 29-year-old Hong Kong man was arrested in Malabar, with a later search of his Kingsford premises resulting in police seizing a quantity of the MDMA substitute material. Another Hong Kong man was released pending inquiries into his links with the ring.
Australian Border Force Acting Commander Investigations Garry Low said the bust came as a result of a tip-off from the Department of Home Affairs. It is also understood that police worked with Canadian and Korean authorities.
"ABF officers have sophisticated technology and unique skills at their disposal, which gives them the ability to identify illegal substances no matter how they are concealed," Acting Commander Low said.
"This detection is the second biggest MDMA seizure in Sydney. Every day, ABF officers go to work determined to protect Australia from these harmful substances and cases like these show their hard work and dedication pays off."
The Carlingford and Cabramatta West men appeared in Parramatta Local Court on Saturday, where they were remanded in custody. The Carlingford man is scheduled to reappear in Burwood Local Court on Tuesday 12 May 2020, while the Cabramatta West man is set to reappear on Friday 24 April 2020 in Fairfield Local Court.