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Record heroin shipment seized in Queensland drug sting

Experts say Australians should get used to disrupted supply chains.

Experts say Australians should get used to disrupted supply chains. Photo: AAP

Authorities have seized 336kg of heroin – the second-largest shipment of the drug detected in Australia – in a police sting targeting an international smuggling syndicate.

The drugs were hidden in a shipping container sent from Malaysia to the Port of Brisbane.

They were concealed inside two concrete blocks, each weighing about 500kg, and marked as solar panel accessories in a sea freight container addressed to an industrial lot in Brendale, north of Brisbane.

Border force officers uncovered the stash after the consignment docked on March 13, identifying hundreds of packages hidden within the cement block.

A Sydney man, who allegedly collected the consignment in Brisbane before it was transported to NSW, was arrested as part of a joint operation between Australian Federal Police and the Australian Border Force.

The 55-year-old man, from Auburn, has been charged with importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs. He is expected to face Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday.

The heroin has an estimated street value of $268.8 million and is the largest amount of the drug seized in Queensland.

Authorities seized 960 drug packages from within the concrete blocks before tracking the shipment to Brendale.

Police allege the consignment was driven in a rental truck to Sydney before being delivered to an industrial shed in Mount Druitt on March 30.

The shipment remained under surveillance when the accused returned to the shed on Friday and used industrial tools to cut into the concrete to access the drugs.

AFP officers arrested him when he left the shed as authorities raided homes and businesses across NSW and Queensland, including at Brendale in Queensland and Mount Druitt, Blacktown, Auburn, Cecil Park and Constitution Hill in NSW.

Police confiscated more than $700,000 worth of jewellery from the Auburn man’s home and electronic devices. Mobile phones, cash, hard drives, and notebooks were also seized.

AFP Commander John Tanti said the haul was a crushing blow to the smuggling operation.

“The AFP is committed to stopping criminals using the Pacific as a maritime drug highway and will continue to identify and disrupt transnational organised crime syndicates seeking to harm Australia and generate millions of dollars of profits from criminal activity,” he said

The investigation is ongoing.

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