Arrests over $100m of drugs at Sydney airport
Four men have been arrested following a large-scale investigation into an international drug syndicate, with authorities seizing more than 150 kilograms of heroin alongside other drugs with a total street value of over $100 million.
Australian Border Force officers first discovered a staggering 400 blocks of heroin in December last year after examining an air cargo shipment of "gym equipment" arriving at Sydney Airport from Malaysia.
ABF officers are understood to have found the heroin stash hidden under false floors in three of four wooden crates, buried among souvenirs and other handicraft items.
The 400 blocks of heroin weighed in at 154 kilograms and has an estimated street value of over $77 million.
ABF Regional Investigations NSW Superintendent Garry Low said that the discovery is one of the biggest heroin busts in the last 10 years.
"It is significant, it's the largest in Australia for probably around 10 years for heroin," he said.
"In the last financial year, there was only about 180 kilos total (of heroin discovered), so that shows the significance of this actual detection."
Strike Force Roath was established to investigate the massive import.
Strike Force investigators pounced on four men on Wednesday, conducting a covert delivery of the drug shipment to a home in Arncliffe.
Officers allege that the packages were accessed by a 31-year-old man on Thursday, before being split and given to two other men, aged 23 and 29.
Police arrested the 31-year-old in Chippendale, the 23-year-old in Strathfield, and the 29-year-old in Condell Park later that day.
A 26-year-old man was also arrested in Newcastle.
A further search of six homes in Arncliffe, Burwood, Chippendale, Croydon Park and Lidcombe led to the discovery of even more drugs.
Around 7.5 kilograms of heroin, 35 kilograms of 'ice' and over $200,000 was uncovered by police during the searches.
Officers also seized knuckle dusters, financial documents and drug paraphernalia from the homes.
The total estimated street value of the drugs uncovered is believed to be around $107 million.
Commander of the NSW Police Force Organised Crime Squad Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke said that the busts are symptomatic of a larger drug problem in Australia.
"Whenever there is a market here, whenever there are people milling to buy the product and use it, we have a problem," he said.
"We need to do something and address demand.
"Young people these days will go to Woolies and buy all the great foods, and then on Saturday they will be at a dance party popping a pill that they do not know where it comes from.
"They're full of poison, people have died and people need to start to think about what it is they are doing.
"We really need to start seeing some cultural change."
All four men will face court today to answer for a raft of drug supply and importation charges.
Investigations into the syndicate are ongoing.