An Australian drug bust has led to the recovery of roughly $525 million in crystal methamphetamine and heroin, which was smuggled into the country in a shipment of terracotta pots.
The drug bust was conducted by the Australian Federal Police, who stated that they arrested four Hong Kong nationals and three Australians were arrested in relation to the case on Monday. If they are convicted on drug charges, they will each face a potential life sentence, reports The Huffington Post.
Australian police seized 1,230 pounds of crystal meth and heroin in the drug bust, 675 of which is meth, while the remaining 555 pounds is heroin. The meth — or ice — seizure is the largest bust of that drug in Australia, while the heroin is the third-largest haul of its kind.
The drugs came into Australia from overseas in shipping containers, and The New York Daily News states that they were found inside clay planters that came in from Thailand. They were stuffed inside 100 terra-cotta pots in two massive shipments of 3,200 pots total. They were checked at the Port Botany Container Examination facility in Sydney. Mike Pezzulo of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service stated:
“The actual concealment itself wasn’t particularly sophisticated. Terra cotta pots concealed in bulk on pallets within cardboard boxes and then shrink-wrapped.”
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Operations Andrew Colvin also made a statement about the drug bust, noting that the bust follows the department’s “most successful year in terms of drug seizures.” The operation began almost a year ago when Australian officials were tipped by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that an international drug ring was planning a huge import of drugs to Australia.
If convicted in the Australian drug bust, the suspects could receive life in prison.