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Huge meth haul smuggled in surfboard

Police will alleged they seized methamphetamine from inside a shipment of surfboards. Picture: AFP
Police will alleged they seized methamphetamine from inside a shipment of surfboards. Picture: AFP

Two men have faced court over an alleged plot to smuggle about 300kg of methamphetamine into Australia.

Police say the pair, both aged 33 and living in Melbourne’s south east, are part of a Chinese and Taiwanese international crime syndicate operating out of Melbourne.

The alleged plot was uncovered after “anomalies” were found when a shipment of 12 surfboards was X-rayed on August 11.

Inside the surfboards, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) say they found about 78kg of a “crystalline substance” — alleged to be meth — before it was replaced with a dummy substance.

The shipment was then delivered to a storage unit in Dandenong South 12 days later.

Police say they’ve foiled an alleged attempt to import 78kg of meth from the United States hidden inside surfboards. Picture: AFP
Police say they’ve foiled an alleged attempt to import 78kg of meth from the United States hidden inside surfboards. Picture: AFP

One of the accused men, from Burwood, and another man from Punchbowl in Sydney, allegedly collected the surfboards before they were driven to Sydney on August 25.

Five days later, the Burwood man and his co-accused, from Ferntree Gully, attended a second storage unit.

Police say they raided the unit later the same day, seizing boxes of silicone moulds they believe were allegedly hidden with 200 to 300kg methamphetamine.

The two men were arrested on Tuesday and each charged with drug possession, importing a commercial quantity of methamphetamine and attempting to import a commercial quantity of methamphetamine.

The two men were arrested on Tuesday. Picture: AFP
The two men were arrested on Tuesday. Picture: AFP
Methamphetamine was allegedly “impregnated” inside silicon moulds. Picture: AFP
Methamphetamine was allegedly “impregnated” inside silicon moulds. Picture: AFP

On Thursday, Chen Chen and He-Cheng Huang appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court where they were remanded into custody.

ABF acting Superintendent Felicity Wicks said the Australian Federal Police were committed to uncovering the “crafty” ways criminal groups attempt to circumvent borders.

“The ABF is committed to protecting the community from harmful drugs and working closely with our law enforcement partners to stop the tide of methamphetamine coming into Australia,” she said.

“Strong partnerships can stop organised crime syndicates by making the border a hostile operating environment for those who seek to do the community harm.”

Mr Chen and Mr Huang will return to court in January next year.