Brisbane Man Charged with Importing 83kg of Methamphetamine Hidden Inside Timber Pallets

A 32-year-old Brisbane man is scheduled to face Brisbane Magistrates Court after the Queensland Joint Organised Task Force (QJOCTF) charged him with importing 83kg of methamphetamine allegedly hidden inside hollowed-out timber pallets.

The QJOCTF – which comprises the AFP, Australian Border Force (ABF), Queensland Police (QPS) and Department of Home Affairs (DHA) – arrested the man in December following a five-month investigation named Operation Wirraway.

The operation began in August 2021 after ABF officers at the Port of Brisbane examined a container filled with 895 packages of tiles was shipped from Thailand.

An X-ray examination of one of the 24 timber pallets carrying the tiles identified a white powdery substance hidden inside the timber slats that formed the top of the pallet.

Presumptive testing of the substance indicated the presence of methamphetamine leading AFP forensic officers to undertake a more detailed examination of the shipment.

Investigators identified that each of the seven slats fixed to the top of the pallets had allegedly been hollowed out and filled with bags of white powder weighing about 500 grams each.

Investigators removed nearly 83 kilograms of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of $10.2 million, from the shipment before it was sent for a controlled delivery to a self-storage facility south of Brisbane.

Police later observed the 32-year-old Iranian national take possession of the container at the storage facility and unload the pallets into individual storage sheds. The man allegedly made several more visits to the storage facility to examine the pallets.

Officers from the QJOCTF executed a search warrant at the man’s Shailer Park, the man was arrested and charged with:

  • Three counts of importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Possessing unlawfully imported border controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.7 of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Dealing with the proceeds of crime – money or property worth $10,000 or more – contrary to section 400.6 of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The maximum penalty for the offences are imprisonment for life, two years and 10 years respectively.

Information and images sourced from here.