Drug Bust: Police Warn Mexican Cartels Targeting Australia
The Australian Federal Police have warned Australians one of the largest Mexican drug cartels is targeting the nation.
The revelation came following authorities stopping the largest-ever seizure of methylamphetamine bound for Australia, carrying an estimated street value of $1.29 billion.
In a complex, multi-agency investigation, a whopping 1.7 tonnes of methylamphetamine was stopped by Californian police, in what is the largest-ever seizure of meth bound for Australia, and the largest-ever domestic seizure of the drug in the US.
Police also found 25 kilograms of cocaine, worth $9.5 million, and five kilograms of heroin, worth $2.6 million, in the same shipment as the methylamphetamine.
The drugs were seized by Californian police before they could reach Australian shores.
The Australian investigation unit was made up of the AFP, Victoria Police, the Australian Border Force (ABF), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Department of Home Affairs.
Police say more than 17 million drug deals could have resulted from the amount of methylamphetamine stopped.
The investigation started between six and eight months ago, when a police officer pulled over a motor vehicle in country Victoria. The driver of the car was found to be allgedly in possession of drugs and was charged.
The Echo Task Force then continued to investigate the drug possession, and following this, police began to investigate the possible involvement of Australian gangs, which lead police to the discovery of the drugs and the arrests.
Police say Mexican drug cartels would have a special interest in Australia, as prices for illegal drugs are higher than most other places in the world.
"We continue to pay top dollar for drugs in this country and this is a draw card for selling drugs," AFP Assistant Commissioner Organised Crime Bruce Hill told media on Friday.
The seizure has led to six arrests in both Victoria and New South Wales. The people arrested allegedly have connections with a California-based organised crime syndicate.
Police said some members of the group are Australian nationals with Vietnamese backgrounds.
Three of the people arrested will face Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday. Police are building the case against two more in NSW, who they will apply to have extradited to Victoria.
If convicted, the people arrested face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The previous record of seized methylamphetamine bound for Australia was 1.3 tonnes found in Western Australia in December 2017.
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