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Registered: 06/12/03
Posts: 1,460
Loc: Australia
Police intercept one tonne ecstasy haul
    #4056686 - 04/14/05 11:57 PM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Four men have been arrested in Melbourne over what police believe is one of the world's biggest ecstasy hauls.

An Australian Federal Police (AFP) spokeswoman said officers discovered more than one tonne of MDMA (ecstasy) tablets with an estimated street value of more than $250 million in a shipment at Melbourne's waterfront.

The spokeswoman said it was the largest ever ecstasy haul in Australia, and possibly the world, and was detected following a joint operation between the AFP and the Australian Customs Service, with assistance from the Australian Crime Commission.

A joint AFP/customs statement said intelligence developed by the two agencies led customs to the drugs in a shipping container carrying ceramic tiles imported from Italy earlier this week.

The tablets were concealed in cavities around some of the boxes of tiles and were first identified using x-ray equipment, the statement said.

More than five million tablets were found in a subsequent search of the container.

AFP officers monitored the container until it was delivered to a factory in Thomastown, in Melbourne's north, on Thursday afternoon.

Two men later tried to recover the tablets.

A Black Rock man, 36, and a 52-year-old man from Clarkefield, near Sunbury, were arrested at the scene and were charged with aiding and abetting a commercial quantity of MDMA and attempting to possess a prohibited import.

AFP officers then executed 12 search warrants at homes and businesses across Melbourne on Thursday night, arresting two others - a Gowanbrae man, 28, and a Sydenham man, 31.

The two were charged with aiding and abetting a prohibited import, a commercial quantity of MDMA.

All four were due to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court at 2pm on Friday (AEST).

Customs Service Victorian manager Jaclyne Fisher said the importation was well organised.

"Clearly, this was a major shipment involving a well organised syndicate that was aiming to put a massive amount of tablets onto Australian streets," she said.

Ms Fisher said the seizure demonstrated the value of the service's container examination facility in Port Melbourne, where the container was x-rayed.

"This technology, coupled with our highly trained staff and close cooperation with other law enforcement agencies is certainly helping to put a major dent in attempts to traffic drugs into this country," she said.

AFP national border and international network manager Mike Phelan said further arrests could follow overseas following the seizure.

"The AFP is now working with its counterparts in Italy and other parts of Europe to identify any overseas links with this latest seizure," he said.

Ecstasy importation had increased dramatically in Australia in the past two years, Mr Phelan said.

"A consignment this size shows the demand for this drug on our streets despite the potentially lethal affects it can have on our young people," he said.

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Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 3,649
Loc: Australia brah
Re: Police intercept one tonne ecstasy haul [Re: spudamore]
    #4056888 - 04/15/05 12:42 AM (13 years, 2 months ago)

Nooooooooo! This is defenitely going to affect supply in Victoria and the whole country for several weeks...looks like ill have to start making my own :lol:


"Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music." - George Carlin

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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Re: Police intercept one tonne ecstasy haul [Re: spudamore]
    #4232236 - 05/29/05 02:47 AM (13 years, 27 days ago)

$250m drug haul charge
May 28, 2005 - heraldsun.news.com.au

A CROWN casino high-roller faced court yesterday charged over Australia's record $250 million ecstasy haul.

Rob Karam, 38, is charged with aiding and abetting the importation of more than a tonne of ecstasy into Melbourne in April, hidden inside a container of ceramic tiles.

Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard Mr Karam -- one of the casino's top punters -- had recently lost $726,000 gambling despite being bankrupt and unemployed.

The court was told Mr Karam had been charged with possessing and trafficking drugs over a 550kg import of ephedrine in 2001, but those charges were dropped in February this year.

Mr Karam, a father of two, was arrested by federal police at his Kew home yesterday over the huge ecstasy bust.

Federal agent Steven Cook told the court a container arrived from Italy on April 12 containing eight pallets of ceramic tiles, inside which was hidden 1236kg of ecstasy.

He said telephone intercepts showed conversations between Mr Karam and a co-accused discussing the importation using codes, with Mr Karam's role as that of an organiser.

He opposed bail, telling the court Mr Karam had not worked for some time but had lost large sums -- more than $1 million -- to gambling over the past two years.

The court was told Mr Karam had links to criminal identities in Melbourne and police feared he would use them along with access to unexplained cash to flee.

His lawyer told the court his client denied involvement in the ecstasy importation and had posed no risk of fleeing, as he had always obeyed bail conditions in the past.

Magistrate John Hardy noted Mr Karam had not been caught red-handed unpacking the drugs.

But the spending of "astronomic sums" of money at the casino by a bankrupt man raised questions, he said.

Mr Hardy said he would consider the merits of Mr Karam's bail application at the weekend.

The Herald Sun believes police have added more names to the list of underworld identities banned from Crown casino this year.

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