Teens charged over huge $368M meth bust
A 17-year-old and 19-year-old man will face court for their alleged role in the importation of 490 kilograms of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $368 million.
It will be alleged in court the two men were to receive the shipment before handing it over to other members of the criminal syndicate responsible for the importation.
The shipment was seized in Sydney after it was uncovered by Australian Border Force (ABF) in a container that arrived in Port Botany from Malaysia.
ABF officers identified anomalies in three crates containing dozens of car bonnets.
Searches located a crystalline substance inside the skin of the bonnets, which gave positive indication for methamphetamine when tested.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) were informed of the discovery and located a total of 4970 packages within 71 car bonnets.
Further forensic testing will be carried out by AFP forensics specialists to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance, which is believed to be 490 kilograms with a street value of $367,500,000.
An AFP investigation into the intended recipients of the drugs saw a number of search warrants executed in Granville, Rhodes and Penshurst, with a 17-year-old and 19-year-old man arrested during the operation.
The AFP is liaising with the Royal Malaysia Police to identify the source of the shipment, with inquiries to identify other members of the syndicate ongoing.
AFP detective acting superintendent Kristie Cressy said the seizure would have had dire consequences had it made it onto the streets.
"In stopping almost half a tonne of these dangerous drugs reaching our streets, countless families and friends have been saved from being torn apart by illicit substance abuse," she said.
ABF Regional Commander NSW, Danielle Yannopoulos, said the seizure should be a message to other criminal syndicates.
"Whether it be in car bonnets, clothing, meat mincing machines or even highlighters - our officers have seen it all, and they have sophisticated technology at their disposal to identify these illicit substances no matter how criminals try to hide them," she said.
Both men faced Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 8 December 2018, charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5, by virtue of section 11.1, of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.
The 17-year-old is scheduled to appear in Parramatta Children's Court on Friday.
The Granville man is next scheduled to appear on 6 February 2019 before Sydney Central Local Court.