Two people have been arrested in Australia as part of an ongoing investigation into the seizure of more thanAUS$300 million (US$198 million) ofmethylamphetamineconcealed in bottles of Sriracha hot sauce.
The drug, also known as ice, was found on October 15, 2019, by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers inside768 bottles bottled of the hot saucein an air cargo consignment that had arrived from the U.S. into a Sydney freight depot.
Testing found the bottles contained about 880lbs ofmethylamphetamine, with an estimated street value of more thanAUS$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, WestRyde. A 50-year-old male suspect was also detained at the intersection ofBellevueAvenue 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.
The investigation conducted by Strike ForceDiffeyinvestigators, with assistance from Australian Federal Police andABF.
“Methamphetamine, or ice, has a devastating effect on the community every single day—and theABFwill continue working with our domestic law enforcement partners to stop those who try to import this life-destroying drug,” ActingABFRegional Commander forNSW, Matt O’Connor, said ina 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 ForceDiffeywas set up in September 2018 by the State Crime Command’s Organized Crime Squad and theNSWCrime Commission to investigate money laundering across the capital of Sydney and the importation and supply of illicit drugs into theNSWarea of Australia.