Police pull plug on major meth market in Melbourne’s west

Four Australian men have been charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for allegedly trafficking commercial quantities of crystal methamphetamine (meth) and heroin domestically within Australia. A fifth man was charged with proceeds of crime offences.

After an AFP investigation identified an Australia-based syndicate, located in the western suburbs of Melbourne, allegedly trafficking border-controlled drugs, eleven search warrants were executed across nine suburbs including Footscray, Maribyrnong and Yarraville.

Four of the men, all aged 33, were arrested and charged with trafficking commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs including methamphetamine and heroin. A 32-year-old man was arrested and charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime.

During the search warrants officers seized drugs including 4.175 kilograms of meth and 2.5 kilograms of heroin, around $200-250K in cash, a cannabis grow house, encrypted phones, firearms and several luxury vehicles including a 2018 Lamborghini Huracan sports car.

It is alleged the drugs have an estimated street value of $3.131 million for the seized meth (around 41,750 ‘street dosage units’) and $1.250 million for the heroin (around 12,500 ‘street dosage units’).

It is suspected members of the syndicate own or control approximately $12 million in assets, which are subject to Commonwealth restraining orders made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

It will be alleged in court the syndicate has trafficked a significant quantity of border controlled drugs over a sustained period of time. The maximum penalty for the trafficking offence is life imprisonment.

AFP Victorian State Manager Commander Amanda Kates commended the efforts of investigators and said the operation sends a clear message to those seeking to wreak havoc on our community with life-threatening illicit drugs.

“Not only could you spend your life behind bars, all your belongings including your house, car, and anything else used in the commission of a crime, or bought with the proceeds of crime, can be seized,” Cdr Kates said.

“Illicit drugs are a serious threat to the Australian community, and the AFP is focused on continuing to work closely with both national and international partners to stop drugs making their way to the community.”

All five men appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates court on September 21-23. Four of the men were remanded in custody and the fifth man was bailed. They will next appear in court on February 4. Investigations are continuing, and additional arrests are expected.

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