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Ice Seizure
An international investigation between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has resulted in the arrest of three men in Australia and the seizure of 255 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, also known as ice, in California. Police report that the seizure was destined for Australia, and had an estimated street value of approximately $255 million if it had reached our shores.

The joint investigation began after the DEA received intelligence in January 2017, relating to a conspiracy to export drugs via a light aircraft from California to Australia. On 15 June 2017, agents from the DEA Santa Rosa Resident Office conducted a search warrant on a storage facility in Northern California. Approximately 255 kilograms of a white crystalline substance was located at the site, which allegedly tested positive for methamphetamine. The substance was seized, and investigations continued in Australia to locate the intended destination for the drugs.

On 19 July 2017 police apprehended the last of three people alleged to be connected with the importation. A 58-year-old man was arrested in the Victorian suburb of Sunshine.

This follows the arrest earlier this month of a 72-year-old man, apprehended at Melbourne Airport on 5 July 2017. Police report he was planning to fly the light aircraft back to Australia with the drugs onboard.

On 14 July 2017 a 52-year-old man from Zetland NSW, was stopped at Sydney International Airport. He was arrested in relation to his connection to a $2.4 million seizure of cash in Mildura in a prime mover which originated in Adelaide in April 2017. All three men have been charged with the offence of conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. They have also each been charged with at least one count of money laundering offences, with maximum sentences of 15 years.

The close working relationship with international law enforcement and intelligence agencies are vital to the disruption of illicit drug trades such as this one. This significant seizure and multiple arrests are a representation of the strength and effectiveness of these agencies and how unified efforts can help combat such dangerous, sophisticted and prolific narcotic syndicates.