Melbourne-based Criminal Syndicate Members Sentenced to 33 Years in Prison for Failed Methamphetamine Import,

Australia, Police

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Two Melbourne-based criminal syndicate members have been sentenced to a combined 33 years behind bars for attempting to import over $97.7 million worth of methamphetamine into Australia. The sentencing took place in the Melbourne County Court on June 28, 2024, after the men pleaded guilty to their failed attempts to import a total of 488kg of methamphetamine into Australia in 2020.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) charged the men following a six-month investigation into a series of air-freight consignments containing the border-controlled drug arriving in Australia from Southeast Asia. The first consignment, which arrived in Sydney from Thailand in August 2020, was intercepted by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers. Inside tins of coconut milk, they found 288.44kg of pure methamphetamine. The second consignment, arriving from Malaysia in September 2020, contained 160.3kg of pure methamphetamine hidden inside four air compressors.

During the investigation, the police uncovered a Melbourne-based criminal syndicate involved in facilitating and delivering the drug consignments. The syndicate had cloned 20 legitimate existing companies and posed as fake representatives to communicate with freight companies for the delivery of the illicit drugs.

Various offenders were charged by the AFP, including a Sydney man who received a six-year prison sentence for attempting to possess 288kg of methamphetamine concealed in the cans of coconut milk. On November 12, 2020, the AFP executed a search warrant at a business in Ravenhall, Melbourne, leading to the arrest of the two men. Electronic devices, bank cards, and documents with fraudulent identification were seized. Additional search warrants executed on the same day across Melbourne resulted in the arrest and charging of a 36-year-old woman at an Aintree residence. During the search, police seized multiple electronic devices, $682,000 in illicit cash, and other drugs.

The woman was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on May 2, 2024, after pleading guilty to supporting a criminal organization. She was released on a $1000 recognizance release order with the condition of good behavior for three years. The Aintree man received a 16-year prison sentence with a non-parole period of 10.5 years, while the Melbourne man received a 17-year prison sentence with a non-parole period of 11 years.

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