Australia

Melbourne: 100kg meth seized from drug lab

The discovery of a large Melbourne drug lab, containing 100kg of liquid methamphetamine, has led to three men being arrested and charged with drug offences. Peter Sialoa, Joshua Sheal and Warren Shea appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.The Joint Organised Crime Taskforce – comprised of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police, Australian…

The discovery of a large Melbourne drug lab, containing 100kg of liquid methamphetamine, has led to three men being arrested and charged with drug offences.

Peter Sialoa, Joshua Sheal and Warren Shea appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

The Joint Organised Crime Taskforce – comprised of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police, Australian Border Force and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission – discovered 100kg of the drug and significant precursor chemicals at a large-scale drug lab, which was under construction.

It would have been one of the largest illicit labs in Victoria’s history if it became functioning, according to the AFP.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in the estimated street value of illicit drugs, with the liquid methamphetamine seized overnight believed to be worth around $52.5 million,” it said in a statement.

A 41-year-old Niddrie man and a 48-year-old Darraweit-Guim man were arrested at a residential property near Melbourne Airport on Thursday night. The drug lab was located inside a shed.

A 47-year-old man was also arrested at his Hadfield home.

The three men were charged with attempting to possess commercial quantities of unlawfully imported border controlled drugs and were due to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court via videolink on Friday.

AFP Southern Command Acting Commander Investigations Ray Imbriano said the organisation continued to crack down on organised crime despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Organised criminals such as those arrested on Thursday night continue to attempt to prey on our community and push harmful illicit drugs onto our streets, but we remain one step ahead,” he said.

“This operation shows that police are keeping a watch on every corner and will continue to identify, arrest and prosecute those involved in criminal activity.”

Victoria Police Crime Commander Mick Frewen said a drug laboratory of this size had the potential to inflict enormous harm on the Victorian community.

“We know that the trafficking and use of drugs is an enormous driver of serious and organised crime across the state, and this certainly hasn’t stopped even during the lockdown periods,” he said.

“Victoria Police will continue to work with our law-enforcement partners to deter and disrupt this offending, as well as targeting the associated unexplained wealth, and today’s result should send a strong message that we absolutely will not tolerate this criminal activity.”

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