Authorities have intercepted 336kg of heroin in a shipment sent from Malaysia to Brisbane — the largest seizure of the drug ever detected in Queensland and the second-largest on record for the entire country.
- More than 330kg of heroin was intercepted in a shipment sent from Malaysia to Brisbane
- ABF officers detected the illicit drugs inside two concrete blocks
- Authorities say the heroin has an estimated street value of $268.8 million
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) said in a statement that the drugs seized had an estimated street value of $268.8 million and represent more than a third of Australia’s annual heroin consumption.
“ABF officers detected the illicit drugs inside two concrete blocks, each weighing about 500kg, that were marked as solar panel accessories inside a sea freight container addressed to an industrial lot in Brendale, north of Brisbane,” the statement read.
“The shipment arrived on 13 March, 2023, at the Port of Brisbane, where ABF officers examined the container and identified hundreds of packages hidden within cement blocks that made up part of the consignment.”
Authorities said the packages were tested and returned a presumptive result for heroin.
They allege an Auburn man collected the delivery in a rented truck and took it to an industrial shed in Mount Druitt last week.
The man allegedly returned to the shed the following day and was arrested by AFP officers.
“AFP investigators then executed a series of search warrants at businesses and homes in NSW and Queensland, including at Brendale in Queensland and Mount Druitt, Blacktown, Auburn, Cecil Park and Constitution Hill in NSW,” federal police said.
“Police seized jewellery worth an estimated $700,000 from the Auburn man’s home as well as electronic devices.
“Items seized from other locations included mobile phones, cash, hard drives, notebooks and other parts of the reconstructed consignment.”
The 55-year-old man has been charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs and one count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs.
Both offences have a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
He was remanded in custody after appearing before the Parramatta Local Court on Saturday and is expected to face court again tomorrow.
ABF Commander James Copeman said the intercept was business as usual.
“This is routine business for us. It just happens to be one of the largest detections that Australia has ever seen,” he said.
The AFP said the importation was the work of an organised crime syndicate, and Australian authorities were working with their Malaysian counterparts.
“This amount of heroin would cause untold damage in the community and increase the burden on our health system and social services,” AFP Commander John Tanti said in a statement.
“The investigation is ongoing and further arrests can’t be ruled out.”
Commander Tanti said there was evidence that heroin use in Australia was on the rise.
“The wastewater analysis done by the Australian criminal intelligence commission indicates that the volume of heroin consumption in Australia is up,” he told reporters on Tuesday.