(Daily Mail) – Authorities say they have helped prevent ‘carnage and destruction’ after police arrested a man and seized a haul of drugs worth $156million in one of Australia’s largest heroin busts.
Police arrested a 29-year-old man on Thursday at his home in Mt Colah on Sydney’s upper north shore after a record 347.9kg of heroin was detected in December 2020 in a joint operation between Border Force, Australian Federal Police and NSW Police.
Officers also raided three residential addresses in Miller, Baulkham Hills and Kings Park, and two businesses in Hornsby on Friday.
The record detection of heroin equates to more than 1.1 million street deals.
The Mt Colah man was charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border-controlled drugs and is set to face Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday.
The investigation was launched after officers targeted air cargo on December 23, 2020, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which contained two pieces of heavy machinery described as vertical mixers.
Australian Border Force Officers X-rayed the cargo in Sydney and allegedly found two metal cases containing heroin.
Australian Federal Police officers removed the illicit drugs and with assistance from Border Force, delivered them to the destined address – a storage facility in Hornsby.
Police will allege in court that in February, the 29-year-old man collected the consignment of machinery and attempted to access the drugs.
Officers said they spent the ensuing months conducting further inquiries to identify people and locations of interest and gathering evidence.
The investigation into the criminal syndicate responsible for this importation and its potential distribution in Australia remains ongoing.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Morgan Blunden said if these drugs had not been intercepted, the impact on the community would have been devastating.
‘Illicit drug use causes a significant burden to the Australian economy, through crime, loss of productivity, emergency treatment and increased health care cost,’ Detective Acting Superintendent Blunden said.
‘Sadly heroin causes many deaths and this seizure has protected our community from harm. We will continue to work closely with our partners to prevent this harm from occurring.’
Border Force acting Superintendent Anthony Wheatley said those who tried to smuggle drugs into Australia did so under the cover of the festive season.
‘The offenders involved, given it was over a Christmas period of time, thought that it was an easy way to smuggle drugs through at that period,’ he said.
‘I want to send a strong message out the Australian Border Force are operating 365 days a year.’
Detective Superintendent Jason Weinstein from NSW Police said the ‘carnage and destruction that drug (heroin) can put into our community is something this state hasn’t seen for many many years.’
Detective Superintendent Weinstein also said state and federal police would continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to ‘those bringing harm on others by importing illicit drugs’ and urged everyone to report suspected criminal activity to police.