Sydney, Australia and China joint operation intercepts drug-smuggling ship

Taskforce Blaze seized approximately 90 litres of liquid methamphetamine on a northern Sydney beach. Off the Queensland coast, a fishing vessel was also intercepted and eight people were arrested for their alleged roles in the importation.

Taskforce Blaze is a joint Australian – Chinese law enforcement partnership with Australian Federal Police and China National Narcotics Control Commission.

A vessel of interest was identified off the coast of NSW and was monitored by the Australian Border Force (ABF). They had active support from ABF’s Maritime Border Command (MBC) —a multi-agency task force responsible for leading Australia’s civil maritime security operations.

A smaller tender was launched from this vessel with three men onboard. Along with NSW Police Force Marine Area Command, the AFP monitored its arrival at Palm Beach on Sydney’s northern beaches. On arrival it was met by another two male persons. A search warrant was executed and all five men were arrested.

AFP seized three barrels containing 90 litres of liquid methamphetamine. Tests were conducted to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance. The street value of the seized material should be around $54 million.  A Customs broker in Sydney CBD is unlikely to have been involved.

Those who were taken to custody include three men, a 47-year-old, a 49-year-old, and a 58-year-old from China. Along with them A 29-year-old from New Zealand and a 56-year-old from Taiwan were also arrested. These men were arrested as they met the vessel onshore and were charged with the importation and possession of a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drugs. All were refused bail.

After the arrests, the vessel was intercepted off the coast of Hervey Bay, Queensland. Three-member crew comprising a 23-year-old, a 51-year-old, and a 56-year-old from China were taken into custody and a search warrant executed on the vessel.

This successful operation is a proof of the effectiveness of cooperation with Australia’s Chinese partners, which provided information to begin this operation. According to Mr. Deng, Director of Guangdong Provincial Narcotics Control Bureau, this successful operation shows how law enforcement agencies from China and Australia working together can combat multinational drug crimes.

ABF charge Melbourne man for importing prohibited items


ABF investigators executed search warrants at a Mill Park premises and arrested a 39-year-old man for importing prohibited items. Items seized from the premises items included ballistic vests a handgun, a rifle, ammunition, an electronic shock device, an extendable baton and small quantities of illicit drugs.

Since these are all prohibited items the man will be charged under the following sections of the law. The importation of prohibited items in contravention of Section 233 BAB(5) of the Customs Act 1901. The possession of prohibited imports, in contravention of Section 233(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1901. No customs brokers from Sydney were associated with the import of these prohibited items.

Investigation in this case was started by the ABF officers working at the air cargo environment. ABF investigators executed a search warrant following the diligent work of ABF officers working in the air cargo environment. Search warrants resulted in the detection of two shipments of prohibited imports, including five electronic shock devices and ballistic vests.

Detectives from the Victoria Police Whittlesea Crime Investigation Unit attended the case at the Mill Park premises since firearms and drugs were recovered from the location. Following arrest, the man was charged him with the following.

Non-prohibited person possesses an unregistered General Category handgun in contravention of the Firearms Act 1996. non-prohibited person possesses an unregistered Category C long arm in contravention of the Firearms Act 1996. Possess ammunition without having a Firearms licence in contravention of the Firearms Act 1996. Possess Cannabis in contravention of the Drugs, Poisons & Controlled Substances Act 1981. Possess Methyl-Amphetamine in contravention of the Drugs, Poisons & Controlled Substances Act 1981, and possess MDMA (Ecstasy) in contravention of the Drugs, Poisons & Controlled Substances Act 1981.

Illegal import of firearms is a serious threat to the society. Most of these illegally imported firearms reach anti-social elements. This can individuals with criminal background to national and international gangs involved in crime. Government and law enforcing agencies take a serious view of this issue and have advised agencies with different objectives to work together.

About the Author: John West