$92m of meth found in sandals

Imported into Australia, these black leather sandals allegedly hid methamphetamines.

Imported into Australia, these black leather sandals allegedly hid methamphetamines. Photo: AAP

A Melbourne man could face life in prison over his alleged involvement in attempting to import 100kg of methamphetamine hidden in leather sandals.

Australian Border Force officers in April discovered the sandals inside a consignment of six boxes from Thailand addressed to a western Sydney storage facility used by a freight forwarder after it arrived at Port Botany in Sydney.

The illicit drugs were concealed in the soles of the black leather shoes with the exact purity and weight to be confirmed with further testing.

Investigators initiated Operation Birkin where they observed Sin Keong Choong –a 49-year-old Malaysian national from Melbourne – attempting to collect the consignment using fake identification on Monday.

He was unsuccessful at picking it up and was seen driving towards Melbourne on the Hume Highway.

Federal police officers identified Choong and executed a search warrant on Thursday at his home in Burwood in Victoria where they found two mobile phones allegedly used to facilitate the importation and the fake licence provided to the freight forwarder.

He fronted the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday, charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of meth, and was refused bail. 

The crime carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

AFP sergeant Alex Drummond said the bust prevented millions of dollars in illicit substance trade from entering the criminal economy.

“The AFP will continue to work tirelessly to keep these dangerous drugs off the streets and ensure those hell-bent on poisoning the community see justice,” he said.

The quantity of the seized drugs equated to approximately one million individual street deals worth about $92 million, police said.

Choong will return to the Melbourne Magistrates Court on August 30.


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