Australian police seize one tonne shipment of ecstacy
Friday, April 15, 2005ecstacy pills in the world.Police in Melbourne have seized over a tonne of ecstacy in a shipment of tiles from Italy. Four were arrested on Thursday and early Friday relating to the shipment, which the Australian Federal Police has called the biggest shipment of street-ready
The four men were charged with aiding and abetting a prohibited import, according to ABC radio. Five million tablets were seized, with a reported street value of US$190 million (AU$250m). Two were additionally charged with attempting to possess a prohibited import.
Federal police were continuing to investigate a crime ring behind the shipment, a spokesperson told News24.com.
Federal Agent Mike Phelan said: "The AFP is now working with its counterparts in Italy and other parts of Europe to identify any overseas links with this latest seizure."
X-rays taken of the shipment, which arrived in Port Melbourne earlier in the week, had revealed anomalies inside eight pallets which were stacked with tiles, said a report from Australian Associated Press.
Police then monitored the shipping container until it was delivered on Thursday to a suburban Melbourne factory, where two men were arrested, according to the News24.com report. Agents searched a dozen homes and businesses across Melbourne and arrested two more men early on Friday. All four suspects were due to appear in court later on Friday.
Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison praised the AFP, the Australian Customs Service and the Australian Crime Commission involved in the operation, which he told Australian Associated Press had been ongoing since January.
"This big seizure sends a very clear message to those who want to traffic drugs to Australia, you will be caught and face very serious penalties," Senator Ellison told the news agency, saying the shipment "could have wreaked havoc".
"Anyone who says this sort of seizure does not slow the supply of drugs is quite obviously out of touch with reality."
The previous largest Australian ecstasy haul occurred in November 2004 in Sydney, when 1,800 pounds of ecstasy tablets and powder were seized, Australian Federal Police (AFP) told Reuters, compared to this shipment's weight of 2,240 pounds.
- Australian Associated Press. "World record drug haul" — , April 15, 2005
- Andiswa Mesatywa. "Aussie cops seize $250m ecstasy" — , April 15, 2005
- Reuters. "Police Seize a Ton of Ecstasy in Tiles" — , April 15, 2005
- ABC News (Australia). "Four remanded in custody over Australia's 'biggest' ecstasy haul" — , April 15, 2005