More arrests over $200 million worth of meth found in bottles of Sriracha chili sauce

Two people have been arrested in Australia as part of an ongoing investigation into the seizure of more than AUS$300 million (US$198 million) of methylamphetamine concealed in bottles of Sriracha hot sauce.

The drug, also known as ice, was found on October 15, 2019, by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers inside 768 bottles bottled of the hot sauce in an air cargo consignment that had arrived from the U.S. into a Sydney freight depot.

Testing found the bottles contained about 880lbs of methylamphetamine, with an estimated street value of more than AUS$300 million.

As part of the investigation, five people were arrested and charged.

New South Wales Police has now arrested two more people in connection to the money laundering and drug supply investigation.

A 21-year-old man was arrested during a vehicle stop on Victoria Road, West Ryde. A 50-year-old male suspect was also detained at the intersection of Bellevue Avenue and Victoria Road.

The younger suspect was later charged with knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

The elder suspect was charged with two counts of the same offense. Police suspect the 50-year old laundered money for an organized crime syndicate involved in the importation of illicit drugs.

During a search of the 50-year-old’s vehicle, police seized a money counting machine, a cellphone and cash.

A further AU$500,000 cash was also inside a cooler bag in the trunk of the vehicle.

Both men are due to appear in court to face the charges, having been refused bail.

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The investigation conducted by Strike Force Diffey investigators, with assistance from Australian Federal Police and ABF.

“Methamphetamine, or ice, has a devastating effect on the community every single day—and the ABF will continue working with our domestic law enforcement partners to stop those who try to import this life-destroying drug,” Acting ABF Regional Commander for NSW, Matt O’Connor, said in a statement following the seizure of the drug.

“This detection should serve as a warning to criminal groups that no matter how clever you think you are being in the way that you attempt to conceal and move your drugs, our officers have the skills, technology and the resources to find them and track down the people who are attempting to bring them in.”

The Strike Force Diffey was set up in September 2018 by the State Crime Command’s Organized Crime Squad and the NSW Crime Commission to investigate money laundering across the capital of Sydney and the importation and supply of illicit drugs into the NSW area of Australia.

Bottles of Sriracha hot chili sauce are shown on December 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.Scott Olson/Getty

*story by NewsWeek