Two Sydney men have been charged after allegedly trying to smuggle millions of dollars of opium into Australia from Azerbaijan.
Earlier this month Australian Border Force (ABF) officers allegedly discovered more than 21kg of opium while inspecting an air cargo consignment at a Sydney freight depot.
The consignment, which was declared to contain an iron boiler, was x-rayed and ABF officers noted unusual inconsistencies.
After taking apart the cargo, ABF officers allegedly found 20 bags of a black tar substance concealed inside the boiler.
Tests returned a presumptive positive result for opium with a total weight of 21.4kg. The illicit drugs have an estimated potential street value of more than $3.4 million.
NSW Police Force and investigators from Wetherill Park Region Enforcement Squad (RES) launched an investigation and last Friday arrested three men during a vehicle stop in Sydenham.
The men – aged 40, 45 and 61 – were taken to Mascot Police Station, and their vehicle was seized and taken away for forensic examination. A 40-year-old Pendle Hill man was charged with import commercial quantity of border-controlled drug. The 61-year-old man Merrylands man was charged with import commercial quantity of border-controlled drug.
Both men were refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday. They have been remanded in custody and will next appear in court on January 20.
The 45-year-old man was released pending further inquiries.
As part of ongoing investigations, officers from Wetherill Park RES on Monday raided homes at Merrylands and Smithfield, as well as a storage facility.
During the searches, police seized 300g of heroin, an electronic control device and other items they said were relevant to the investigation.
The heroin has an estimated potential street value of about $150,000.
Yesterday, Wetherill Park RES seized documents of interest from a Pendle Hill home.
Investigations are continuing.