Melbourne man jailed for 16 years for importing 360kg drugs valued $180 million

The amount of methamphetamine had an estimated street value of around $180 million at the time of seizure and would be enough to supply Melbourne with 3.6 million hits.

A Melbourne man, arrested under Operation Ironside, has been sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for attempting to possess 360kg of methamphetamine.

The man, 40, who is an alleged criminal figure in Melbourne, faced the Melbourne County Court today (Friday 28 April).

Intelligence gained as a result of Operation Ironside presented the AFP with significant evidence to arrest and charge the man in connection to the 2020 drug import on 7 June 2021.

- Advertisement -

The amount of methamphetamine had an estimated street value of around $180 million at the time of seizure and would be enough to supply Melbourne with 3.6 million hits.

The initial investigation, known as Operation Tiridates, began on 8 June 2020, after the Australian Border Force (ABF) examined a shipping container of furniture, upon its arrival into Melbourne from Malaysia on 4 June 2020.

ABF officers then identified 18 cardboard boxes within the consignment, containing 1kg blocks filled with a white crystalline substance.

AFP forensic analysis confirmed the substance was crystal methamphetamine and was of a high level of purity.

The AFP executed a search warrant at the man’s Elwood residence on 7 June 2021, and seized several electronic devices, cash and luxury watches.

The man was subsequently arrested and charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border controlled drug.

- Advertisement -
Image: Operation Ironside (Source: AFP)

On Tuesday 18 April 2023, the man pled guilty to attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, contrary to sub-ss 11.1(1) and 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The man was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment commencing from 7 June 2021, with a non-parole period of 10 years and six months.

AFP Detective Superintendent Jason McArthur said the outcome should send a strong warning transnational criminal syndicates attempting to import illicit drugs into Australia.

“Thanks to Operation Ironside, this is another example of the AFP disrupting a serious criminal syndicate and delivering an attack on all fronts of organised crime in Australia.”

“There is violence and harm throughout the illicit drug supply chain and we are working hard to pursue and stop those who are trying to profit at the expense of our communities,” Det. Supt McArthur said.

“The AFP and its law enforcement partners will continue to work together to target and dismantle criminal networks and prosecute them at every opportunity.”

ABF Superintendent Dan Peters, Maritime South, said the significant detection of methamphetamine is another example of successful collaboration between the ABF and its law enforcement partners to protect Australian communities from harmful substances.

“The ABF’s technical capabilities and our highly trained officers frequently seize different quantities of methamphetamine,” Supt Peters said.

“ABF officers work every day to detect and disrupt these types of criminal operations, no matter how sophisticated they are.”

“Our wide range of detection methodologies can pick up a concealment however well-hidden criminals believe it is.”

The following services provide people with access to support and information.

  • For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
  • Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at counsellingonline.org.au.
  • For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to turningpoint.org.au.