NSW police bust biggest heroin haul in decades

Enormous profits for criminals, broken lives for addicts - that's the heroin story.

Enormous profits for criminals, broken lives for addicts - that's the heroin story. Photo: Getty

Authorities say they have helped prevent “carnage and destruction” with the nation’s biggest heroin seizure in nearly two decades.

On Saturday police revealed 347kg of heroin was seized in December 2020 in a joint operation between Border Force, Australian Federal Police and NSW Police.

Two days before Christmas officers targeted the air cargo from Kuala Lumpur, which contained two pieces of heavy machinery described as vertical mixers.

The cargo was X-rayed and officers allegedly found two metal cases containing heroin.

The amount of the illicit drug could have produced more than 1.1 million street deals, and netted $156 million, authorities say.

Wade Habkouk, 29, was arrested on Thursday at his home in Mt Colah on Sydney’s upper north shore.

He has been charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border-controlled drugs.

Habkouk on Saturday faced a Parramatta Bail Court, where he did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

Months of inquiries

Police allege the consignment of machinery was collected and attempts made to access the drugs.

Officers said they spent months conducting further inquiries to identify people and locations of interest and gathering evidence.

There were raids on three residential addresses at Miller, Baulkham Hills and Kings Park and two businesses at Hornsby on Friday.

AFP Acting Superintendent Morgen Blunden said the operation produced a good result.

“It’s the largest seizure of heroin in nearly two decades,” he said.

“Sadly, heroin causes many deaths and this seizure has protected our community from harm. We will continue to work closely with our partners to prevent this harm from occurring.”

Border Force acting Superintendent Anthony Wheatley said those trying to smuggle the drugs into Australia tried to do so under the cover of the festive season.

Constant vigilance

“The offenders involved, given it was over a Christmas period of time, thought that it was an easy way to smuggle drugs through at that period.

“I want to send a strong message out the Australian Border Force are operating 365 days a year.”

Detective Superintendent Jason Weinstein from NSW Police said the “carnage and destruction that drug [heroin] can put into our community is something this state hasn’t seen for many many years”.

Detective Superintendent Weinstein referred to the daily death rate caused by heroin in the late 1980s and early ’90s in NSW.

“This seizure .. is quite significant to protect .. our community.”

Habkouk is due to next face court on September 8.


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