Man charged for alleged 100kg meth import hidden in sandals

"That’s $92 million worth of this insidious drug that won’t end up on our streets."

A Malaysian national faced charges in Melbourne Magistrates Court for his suspected involvement in the importation of 100 kilograms of methamphetamine cunningly concealed within leather sandals.

The accused, whose name has not been disclosed, appeared in court on May 10, 2024, where bail was denied. He is scheduled to return to court on August 30, 2024.

Image: Op Birkin (Source: AFP)

AFP Sergeant Alex Drummond said the AFP and its partners were committed to ensuring dangerous drugs are prevented from making it onto Australian streets.

“The AFP will continue to work tirelessly to keep these dangerous drugs off the streets and ensure those hellbent on poisoning the community see justice. We will allege this man was willing to drive up to Sydney at short notice to collect this consignment but the AFP stopped the onward distribution of these drugs, preventing millions of dollars from entering the criminal economy. ”

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ABF Inspector Marc Rea said the quick result following the detection was testament to the strength of our joint-agency partnership.

“Organised criminal syndicates are trying whatever they can to sneak these dangerous substances past our border. …That’s $92 million worth of this insidious drug that won’t end up on our streets. ABF officers will continue to work closely with our federal and state partners to keep Australians safe.”

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) initiated Operation Birkin in April 2024 subsequent to the examination of a shipment of six boxes originating from Thailand and entering Port Botany by officers from the Australian Border Force (ABF).

Image: Op Birkin (Source: AFP)

Upon closer inspection, ABF officers uncovered 100 kilograms of methamphetamine carefully hidden within the soles of black leather shoes. The precise purity and quantity of the substance will undergo further forensic scrutiny and analysis.

The shipment was directed to a storage facility in western Sydney linked to a freight forwarding company.

Subsequent investigation led the AFP to conduct a controlled operation, during which a 49-year-old Malaysian man was allegedly observed attempting to claim the consignment using forged identification on Monday, May 6, 2024.

However, the man was unable to retrieve the consignment and was subsequently observed driving south on the Hume Highway toward Melbourne.

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AFP investigators successfully identified the individual and, on May 9, 2024, executed a search warrant at his residence in Burwood, Victoria.

Image: Op Birkin (Source: AFP)

During the search, investigators seized two mobile devices believed to have been used in facilitating the importation, as well as the forged license provided to the freight forwarding company. Numerous electronic devices seized will undergo further examination.

The accused has been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of methamphetamine, in violation of section 307.5, by virtue of 11.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

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