$900m drug bust exposes Mexico-Australia cartel ties

Audio equipment containing crystal methylamphetamine

Audio equipment containing crystal methylamphetamine

Around 1.7 tons of meth was seized in California on January 9 by USA authorities, along with smaller amounts of cocaine and heroin, police said.

After a series of raids this month, two USA nationals and four Australians were arrested this week in the Melbourne and Sydney areas.

The drugs were hidden in metal boxes and falsely labelled as loudspeakers.

The three containers seized Thursday also contained 55.9 pounds of cocaine and 11.5 pounds of heroin and had a street value of $1.29 billion.

The haul is said to be equivalent to 17 million doses and worth an estimated A$1.29bn ($910m; £705m).

As a result of the investigation, Australian Federal Police arrested two US citizens and four Australian citizens allegedly involved with the USA -based transnational crime syndicate suspected of conducting the record-making shipment.

The people arrested allegedly have connections with a California-based organised crime syndicate.

Australia's federal police said its anxious the drug cartels may be trying to expand overseas. They've been sending smaller amounts over the years.

Three of those arrested are set to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday, charged with attempting to import illegal drugs. They were not identified except as a 52-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman.

James Carouso, the US acting ambassador to Australia, said in a statement that "this historic seizure highlights just how important the US-Australian partnership is in protecting Americans and Australians alike". We now believe that Mexican cartels are actively targeting Australia'. "This is now flagging intent Australia is now being targeted", he said.

"We've got money, and we're willing to pay more for our drugs than anywhere else in the world".

Jason Halls, Victoria manager for the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, said the drugs would have had an "immeasurable" impact on the Australian community.

Search warrants were also carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia where a significant quantity of suspected proceeds of crime were seized.

It was also the largest haul of meth, or ice, intercepted while bound for Australia.

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