Published: Sat, February 09, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Two Sydney men charged over Australia and America's biggest-ever ice bust

Two Sydney men charged over Australia and America's biggest-ever ice bust

Links between "violent" Mexican cartels and bikie gangs are being probed after authorities intercepted a billion-dollar ice haul bound for Australia.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer removes methamphetamine from a loudspeaker on January 11, 2019 at the Los Angeles-Long Beach seaport.

"The Australian public who are consuming ice and other illicit drugs are assisting organised crime to flourish", Mr Hill added.

The drugs were hidden in metal boxes and falsely labelled as loudspeakers.

Authorities also took in approximately 55.9 pounds of cocaine, and 11.5 pounds of heroin. The estimated street value of the meth was 1.29 billion AUD, or $911 million and was also the largest-ever shipment intended for Australia.

Two U.S. citizens and four Australian citizens were arrested as part of the bust.

"The JOCTF investigation demonstrated the effectiveness of Australian and global authorities working together to stamp out illicit drug importation, and I wish to thank our USA counterparts for their expert involvement in this investigation".

The haul is said to be equivalent to 17 million doses and worth an estimated A$1.29bn ($910m; £705m).

They were remanded in custody to face court again on June 17, as charges were pending against a fourth person arrested in Melbourne.

Commissioner Hill said police believe Mexican cartels are targeting the country, but the identities of the cartels have not been disclosed. "They've been sending smaller amounts over the years, (but) this is now flagging the intent that Australia is being targeted".

None of the agencies involved has further identified the cartel.

Police said some members of the group are Australian nationals with Vietnamese backgrounds.

"We've got money, and we're willing to pay more for our drugs than anywhere else in the world".

Search warrants were also carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia where a significant quantity of suspected proceeds of crime were seized.

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.

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