An estimated $140 million worth of heroin hidden inside a shipping container sent to Melbourne from Malaysia has been intercepted by Australian authorities.
The 450 kilogram haul is the largest shipment ever detected in Australia.
A Malaysian national has been charged after the drugs were found secreted inside a container of tiles.
Australian Border Force officers found 1290 packages with distinctive red branding containing heroin.
Investigators removed the heroin from the shipment, then watched on as it was delivered to an industrial area at Tullamarine near Melbourne’s airport last week.
Police will allege the Malaysian man then collected the container and transferred it to a Pascoe Vale South warehouse.
When he accessed the container the next day, he was arrested.
The Australian Federal Police are still investigating what the final destination for the heroin was intended to be. They’ve so far carried out raids on three other properties.
The interception saved an estimated 225 lives, says AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Southern Command, Krissy Barrett.
“For approximately every two kilograms of heroin that’s in circulation we lose one life,” she told reporters on Saturday.
She said that drug traffickers often add other substances to heroin to increase the volume and their profits.
“Our users are then taking these substances and not knowing how their bodies are going to react to that,” Ms Barrett said.
The Malaysian man, who’s not a Victorian resident, faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday and has been remanded in custody to next appear in court in January 2022.
He faces a possible penalty of life imprisonment.Internet Explorer Channel Network