Computer Monitors being shipped from Canada have netted Australian Federal Police 135Kilo of Cocaine worth more than $35 million dollars. It is believed that the gang shipping the goods had knowledge of the IT industry in Australia and links to a Queensland IT dealer.
Federal Police also suspect the operation was linked to a massive international drug importation racket where IT gear was being used to ship illegal substances. According to Federal Police sources in Canberra it is the third time this year that police have detected illegal substances in gear being shipped from Canada.
The second major consignment of illegal drugs intercepted en route from Canada in the past four months, the container of 420 monitors was selected by Customs for x-ray in Brisbane on September 8.
Cocaine was found in 136 sealed packets concealed in 33 of the monitors, with 120,000 ecstasy tablets also discovered, worth an estimated $3.5 million, the Australian Federal Police said.
Five men were arrested in Brisbane last night after earlier trying to access the shipment at a warehouse. A sixth – allegedly the intended recipient of the importation – was arrested at eastern Sydney’s Darling Point.
Search warrants were executed at Geebung, Kangaroo Point, Spring Hill and the CBD in Brisbane, as well as at premises in Coolangatta and Sydney’s Darling Point. It is believed to be the biggest seizure of the drug in Queensland’s history, and the nation’s fifth-largest – the most significant since almost one tonne was found off Western Australia in July 2001.
AFP National Manager Border and International Network Mike Phelan said it was likely the shipments were linked to a sophisticated international drug ring.
“The AFP believes the people who have been arrested and charged in this operation were part of a highly sophisticated international drug importation and distribution network,” Mr Phelan said. “The AFP is currently liaising with its law enforcement colleagues in Canada and conducting further inquiries in relation to this significant importation and the international syndicate allegedly responsible for it.”
The five Brisbane men have been charged with a number of offences, including importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, and are due to face Brisbane Magistrates Court today.
The Sydney man will appear in Central Local Court charged with two counts of conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.
The offences carry a maximum penalty of $825,000 or life imprisonment.