The AFP is seeking public assistance after 312kg of liquid methamphetamine destined for Melbourne was intercepted by authorities.
Operation Tallow began in July 2023 when Homeland Security Investigations special agents and US Customs and Border Protection officers at Los Angeles International Airport identified a consignment containing 312kg of liquid methamphetamine, labelled as ‘vegetable fluid oil’, bound for Australia.
The illicit drug was concealed inside two black drums, and will be subject to further forensic testing to determine the purity of the substance. Police in Australia and the United States acted in partnership to seize the drugs and monitor delivery of the consignment to Australia.
The AFP understands the consignment was held in storage for two weeks upon arrival in Australia, before it was to be delivered to a property in rural Victoria.
AFP and Victoria Police monitored the delivery of the consignment of liquid meth to a property near Tooborac – about 100km north of Melbourne – on 5 September, 2023. After the consignment was not picked up, AFP investigators executed search warrants at a number of locations in Melbourne and Brisbane.
The rural property was not occupied, and the AFP has no information to suggest whether the consignment would have been moved to another location.
AFP investigators have spoken to a number of individuals but no charges have been laid as the investigation continues.
AFP Detective Superintendent Kristie Cressy said the seizure demonstrated the strength and importance of law enforcement partnerships, both domestically and internationally, in an effort to stop dangerous drugs reaching the community.
“Our common goal is to keep illicit drugs off our streets and prevent greedy and opportunistic criminals from benefiting from their illegal activities,” said Det-Supt Cressy.
“Criminals may work hard to plan and execute elaborate schemes, but the AFP and its partner agencies work harder to detect concealments of any nature.”
“We are certain there are people in Australia who know something about this importation, or may have seen suspicious activity in the vicinity of Tooborac during the past few weeks.
“We are urging anyone who may have any knowledge or information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppers.com.au.”
Homeland Security Investigations Regional Attaché Ernest Verina highlighted US law enforcement’s ongoing efforts in to work collaboratively with the AFP to combat crime on a global scale.
“Criminal organizations that display such a willful disregard to our community’s safety to sell this deadly poison, must be held fully accountable,” he said.
“HSI’s partnership with AFP is vital to stopping illicit narcotics smuggling and we will continue our joints efforts to identify those responsible for the smuggling of this liquid meth.”