Multimillion-Dollar drug stash found hidden in vans on cargo ship

The AFP seized the drugs, which were hidden in the sliding door panels of vehicles that were destined for New South Wales.

The AFP is appealing for public assistance after about $6.6 million worth of MDMA was discovered in February 2024 during an inspection of a cargo ship docked at Fremantle Harbour, in Western Australia.

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers, with the assistance of drug detector dogs, found about 120kg of the drug concealed inside the panels of six new Peugeot vans, out of a consignment of 105, onboard the vessel, which arrived in WA from Europe on 18 February, 2024.

Image: MDMA bust (Source: AFP)

The AFP seized the drugs, which were hidden in the sliding door panels of vehicles that were destined for New South Wales.

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AFP Acting Commander Peter Hatch congratulated ABF on intercepting the illicit drugs, and said the AFP was working with international partners to identify the transnational organised crime syndicate responsible for trying to import and supply the MDMA to the Australian community. 

“This importation plot would have required a lot of planning and the involvement of a number of people. Clearly there are people in Australia who know who organised this importation and who the intended recipients were.”

A/Commander Hatch added: “The criminal distributors would have likely combined the MDMA with other substances before turning the drugs into pills using a pill press. Criminals don’t care if they add other harmful substances to the illicit drugs to make the pills. People have no idea what they are ingesting when they take these pills.”

Image: MDMA bust (Source: AFP)

ABF Acting Commander James Payne said the detection of such a significant amount of concealed drugs spoke to the professionalism and dedication of ABF officers in protecting Australia’s border.

“We are working together with our law enforcement partners to ensure the border remains a hostile environment for criminal syndicates attempting to use our ports for their illicit schemes.”

A/Commander Hatch urged anyone with information about the planned importation to contact police.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.

*The estimated $6.6 million street value for the MDMA was determined using the ACIC Illicit Drug ESV Calculator

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