Authorities in California have seized a record 1.9 tons of methamphetamine worth some $1.3 billion along with heroin and cocaine, all bound for Australia.
The drugs were hidden in metal boxes and falsely labelled as loudspeakers.
Another 25 kilograms of cocaine, worth about $9.5 million, and 5kg of heroin valued at $2.6 million, was also uncovered in the shipment of 850 vehicle audio parts.
It's not only the largest ever seizure of methylamphetamine bound for Australia, it's also a record domestic seizure of the drug in the USA.
The drugs were seized at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport on January 11, 2019. If it had made it to Australian streets, it's estimated to be worth approximately $1.29 billion dollars and equates to some 17 million hits.
A joint operation between U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, Australian Federal Police and Victoria state police had stopped "a tsunami of ice" from reaching Australian shores, authorities said. The Americans were identified by Australian police as a 52-year-old man and 46-year-old woman living in Woodstock, Victoria. The drugs were in two containers that were destined for Australia.
An investigation was launched after Victorian Police received intelligence about a large-scale drug importation.
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"This is a serious warning, we now believe the Mexican cartels are actively targeting Australia". This is now flagging intent Australia is now being targeted.
"This is the largest seizure of ice bound for Australia ever".
Assistant Commissioner Hill is urging ice users to get help.
"The cartel is among one of the most powerful and violent drug trafficking syndicates in the world".
Dr John Coyne, head of the Border Security Program at the Strategic Police Institute, told Neil Mitchell "it's further evidence (international drug cartels) are expanding into our space for distribution".
Three of those arrested appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.
Search warrants were also carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia where a significant quantity of suspected proceeds of crime were seized.