Man charged after seizure of 34kgs of drugs from Melbourne ‘safe house’

Joint Taskforce Icarus members have arrested and charged a 35-year-old Melbourne man, in connection to a 34kg seizure of drugs from an alleged ‘safe house’ early this year. Investigators arrested the Melbourne man at his city apartment and he is the fourth person charged with serious drug offences as a result of the joint taskforce investigation codenamed Operation Trento.

In January the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Victoria Police officers seized 13.3kg of methamphetamine and 20.8kg of the border controlled precursor methyl alpha-phenylacetoacetate (MAPA) from a Docklands apartment. It is alleged that this apartment had been leased by a criminal syndicate exclusively to store imported drug consignments.

The methamphetamine seized has an estimated street value of $8.3 million. Police will allege that the MAPA chemicals are used to create methamphetamine.

Operation Trento commenced in late 2020 after authorities intercepted a separate shipment of almost 8kg of methamphetamine imported into Victoria with a street value of $5 million dollars. The methamphetamine was hidden inside water filters and was detected by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers, before the investigation was referred to Joint Taskforce Icarus.

Three Malaysian nationals have already been charged with drug importation offences in relation to Operation Trento. Police have seized approximately $153,000 from the alleged criminal syndicate. The 35-year-old man has been charged with:

  • Trafficking commercial quantities of controlled drugs, contrary to Section 302.2(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); 
  • Possessing commercial quantities of border controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine, reasonably suspected of being unlawfully imported, contrary to Section 307.8(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Pre-trafficking commercial quantities of controlled precursors, contrary to Section 306.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment.

Joint Taskforce Icarus comprises members of the AFP, Victoria Police and ABF and investigates high-volume drug importation and trafficking offences in the Victorian jurisdiction.

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