Australia methamphetamine seizure 'worth a record A$1bn'


More than $700 million USA dollars worth of methamphetamine was seized on the west coast of Australia, making it the country's largest meth bust.

The arrests happened after 59 bags containing the drugs were loaded from a boat, Valkoista, into a white van on Thursday, Australian Federal Police said.

She said it was believed the drugs were destined for the east coast.

Police arrested three men in the van, a further three on the boat, plus two more in a hotel in Perth, culminating a five-month operation that dismantled a complex drug trafficking network.

'We're confident this will make a big dent, ' an Australia Federal Police spokesman told reporters on Friday. China is emerging as a major source of illegal narcotics, with illicit laboratories also manufacturing large quantities of illegal opioids being shipped into America, US police say.

Patrick Leandro and Christos Cafcakis, from South Australia, and Sliwa Waseem Hermiz, Elia Khalid Keana, Anthony Serupepeli Rasaubale and Joshua Joseph Smith, from New South Wales, have each made a brief appearance at the Geraldton Magistrates Court.

Charges include importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, and possessing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported.

All the men are scheduled to appear in Perth magistrates court on 17 January.

AFP Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Leanne Close, said police were continuing to gather and evaluate evidence.

"There are eight men - all Australian nationals - that are put before the courts".

"Australia's maritime border is vast and some criminals clearly think they can exploit that and evade detection - they are wrong".

Police said the drug haul could have fetched more than $1 billion if it had been allowed to hit Australian streets.

Police have charged the men, each of whom faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.