The Australian Border Force (ABF) has stopped 1.2 tonnes of drugs with a street value of hundreds of millions of dollars cold in its tracks.
Sydney officers this month arrested two Malaysian nationals after detecting and preventing the large quantity of ephedrine from reaching illicit drug manufacturers and being used to produce 'ice'.
On September 10, a shipment declared as furniture was x-rayed at the Sydney Container Examination facility.
A physical examination of the sea container revealed 127 boxes hidden behind a large amount of furniture. In the boxes was a brown substance. Testing of the substance gave a positive result for ephedrine, a precursor used in the manufacture of the drug methamphetamine or 'ice'.
That amount of ephedrine is capable of producing about one tonne of methamphetamine, which would have a street value of about $750 million.
On September 16, investigators conducted a managed delivery of the container to a warehouse at Roselands.
Two men, one 63 year-old on a tourist visa, and the other, a 22 year-old on a student visa, who were trying to access the container were arrested.
Each was charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled precursor.
The maximum penalty for that offence is 25 years imprisonment, a fine of $1,050,000, or both.
The men appeared in the Burwood Local Court on September 17 and were remanded in custody to re-appear in the Downing Centre Court on November 13.
ABF Regional Commander for NSW, Danielle Yannopoulos, said the seizure prevented about 10 million 'hits' of ice reaching the streets.
"ABF officers are constantly alert to attempts to conceal precursor drugs such as ephedrine, no matter how criminals try and hide them, we will find them," Commander Yannopoulos said.
"ABF officers have the skills, technology and resources to find these concealments and track down those people who attempt to import them."