Coomera man charged after 645kg MDMA found hidden in barbeques

A Gold Coast man is facing life in prison, over his alleged involvement in the importation of a massive amount of drugs hidden in barbeques.

A joint operation between the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force has resulted in the seizure of 645kg of MDMA in Sydney, after a six-month long investigation.

Two people have been arrested so far, a 30-year-old man from Coomera, and a 33-year-old man from Canada, though officials say further arrests are likely.


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The investigation began in early July, when Cyprus Police obtained information about the potential export of a large amount of drugs to Australia.

The Cyprus Drug Law Enforcement Unit (DLEU) conducted an investigation and identified a suspicious consignment in a container which had already departed the port of Limassol for Sydney.

This information was provided to the AFP through its international network, allowing officers to intercept the shipment on July 17.

The drugs were found in the base of 200 aluminium barbeques, which officers seized and replaced with an inert substance, to begin a controlled delivery to Australia on July 22.

The consignment sat idle for three months in a warehouse in Matraville, before the barbeques were gradually transferred to another warehouse at Smeaton Grange.

Officers will allege that the Coomera man travelled to Sydney to remove the MDMA from some of the barbeques and prepare it for further distribution.

The man has remained in Sydney for almost two months, and was arrested at a rented apartment in Bondi Junction yesterday afternoon.

He is expected to face Sydney Central Local Court today, charged with one count of attempt to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely MDMA.

The Canadian man arrived in Sydney on Tuesday December 10, and allegedly visited the Smeaton Grange warehouse the next day.

Officers will alleged he acted as a liason for the criminal group responsible for the importation.

He was arrested by AFP officers in Brisbane yesterday, and will likely be extradited to NSW when he fronts court today.

He’s been charged with one count of aid, abet counsel or procure an imported border controlled drug.

Both men are facing life imprisonment if convicted of the charges.

PHOTO | AFP

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