UK & World News
Australia: Huge Meth Bust Is Record Seizure
Australian police have made their biggest ever haul of methamphetamine after seizing more than half a ton of the illegal drug - worth around £300m.
A total of 585kg of the substance - known as 'ice' or 'crystal meth' - was smuggled into Sydney hidden in shipments of chemicals from China.
Almost double the previous Australian record of 306kg, police say the quantity would have sold for $438m AUS (£297m).
Three men - an Australian, a Singaporean and a Hong Kong passport holder - have been charged with attempting to possess the drug. They were all refused bail at a Sydney court - and face life sentences if convicted.
New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said: "There's over half a ton of hideous drugs that were taken off the streets with a street value approaching half a billion dollars - hundreds of millions of dollars.
"There are three people that have been arrested and will be prosecuted. There are more that will likely be arrested."
Police were alerted to the major drug smuggling operation by a telephone call from a member of the public.
"That one phone call was the one thread that allowed us to pull and unravel a syndicate that will be stopped forever," said Mr Scipione.
The police investigation began in September last year in response to the tip-off.
Police and customs officers were directed to four suspicious shipping containers in a Sydney wharf, which had come from the port city of Shen Zhen in China.
Inside officers found the huge drugs haul, hidden amongst a shipment of chemical cleaner.
They substituted the drugs with a harmless substance then allowed the consignment to be delivered to their original address.
Australia is becoming an increasingly lucrative market for international drug networks because of the strength of the local currency and resilience of the national economy compared to other wealthy nations.
New South Wales police commissioner Andrew Scipione, said it was "very fortunate that somebody took the time to make that phone call".
"This is the sort of drug that sends people mad," he said.