SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian police said on Sunday they had seized in Hong Kong some A$1.6 billion ($1.0 billion) worth of liquid methamphetamines bound for Australia, in a joint operation with Hong Kong authorities.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement its officers and Australian Border Force in Hong Kong worked with Hong Kong Customs and Excise (HKCE) to intercept a “record-breaking” 1.8 tonnes of the drug.
“The illicit consignment was able to be identified based on intelligence developed by AFP officers in Mexico and the Australian Department of Home Affairs,” AFP said.
It said “international cooperation” led HKCE to find the meth on Oct. 23, hidden in cartons of coconut water.
The drugs, headed for New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, had a street value of around A$1.62 billion and a wholesale value of A$540 million ($350 million), AFP said.
“Mexican-based officers used their international network to alert AFP officers in Hong Kong about the suspicious consignment being shipped from Mexico to Australia via Hong Kong,” it said.
“Ongoing investigations are underway to identify the transnational serious organised criminals involved in the plot”.
An AFP spokeswoman told Reuters that the liquid meth haul was a record seizure for Hong Kong. The agency said it could have been sold as about 18 million street-level deals.
Methylamphetamine, commonly referred to by its street name “ice” because of the glass-like appearance if its white “crystals:, is one of the most potent varieties of amphetamine.
($1 = 1.5598 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sam McKeith; Editing by William Mallard)