Australian authorities found $900 million worth of liquid methamphetamine smuggled inside gel bra inserts and art equipment, one of the largest drug busts in the nation’s history.
The investigation began after the raiding of a shipping container in December revealed 86 boxes of bra inserts holding 190 liters of liquid meth, also called “ice,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
A joint effort between five Australian agencies reportedly later found 530 more liters of liquid meth hidden in art supplies—including paint-by-numbers kits for children— across five storage units in suburban Sydney.
“This has resulted in 3.6 million individual hits of ice being taken off our streets,” New South Wales justice Michael Keenan told reporters Monday, putting estimated value of the drugs at $1.26 billion Australian dollars.
Authorities charged three Hong Kong nationals and one Chinese national related to involvement in the importation and manufacturing of the drugs.
Three arrests linked to the art supplies came on January 25, including a 37-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman—both from Hong Kong—as well as a 59-year-old male Chinese national, the Herald reported.
A 33-year-old man, also from Hong Kong, was arrested January 14 in connection to the bra inserts found in the shipping container, which came from Hong Kong.
Australian Federal Police Commander Chris Sheehan said the four are no “mere bit players” but “significant players within this criminal framework.”
Criminal gangs have found Australia a profitable place to make and sell methamphetamine, the Guardian notes, and the country has one of the world’s highest rates of meth usage.
While 2014 research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed meth use had stabilized since 2010, the newspaper reports that the fraction of users taking the drug had increased.
[H/T the Herald]
Follow Josh Hafner on Twitter: @joshhafner