28 Feb 2013

Record drugs haul in Australia

6:12 pm on 28 February 2013

Australian police say they have made the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the country's history.

Authorities say 585kg of the drug, also known as ice, valued at about $A438 million has been kept off Sydney's streets.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said a vigilant member of the community contacted police in September last year after witnessing suspicious activity at a storage facility in West Ryde.

A number of suspicious shipping container arrivals into Sydney were subsequently detected, AAP reports.

On 22 February this year, a container was detected from southern China that had the drugs hidden inside one-tonne bags of chemicals used in cleaning products.

The drugs were removed, replaced with a similar quantity of an inert substance, and allowed to continue on their journey.

On Wednesday, three men were arrested at a warehouse in Regents Park in western Sydney, where they were attempting to remove the dummy substance.

A 32-year-old from Singapore, a 51-year-old from Hong Kong and a 21-year-old from Sydney are charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of drugs and will appear in court on Thursday.

The maximum sentence, if convicted, is life in prison.

Police said more arrests are likely in Australia and overseas.