Dangerously imaginative ways drugs are smuggled into NSW
The men and women charged with protecting Sydney and Australia's borders have a message for overseas drug barons using cunningly elaborate methods to bring their deadly cargo here: 'Don't bother, we'll bust you'.
The warning came today following the latest intercept by Australian Border Force officers, a $1 million methamphetamine importation of a deadly liquid form of ice found inside a shipment of harmless looking snow globes from Canada.
The methamphetamine was suspended in a total 7.5 litres of the liquid found inside 15 globes headed for a suburb in southeast Sydney.
Had it reached the distributors the meth would be have been extracted from the globes and converted into crystal form through a simple drying process.
"Drug importers are coming up with very imaginative ways to attempt to conceal drugs but don't realise we have increasingly effective technology to detect illicit substances in all forms," ABF regional Commander Danielle Yannopoulos said.
"We have seen drugs hidden or disguised as all sorts of things, including champagne and in shampoo bottles," Commander Yannopoulos said.
"It seems many drug importers also think by welding hidden compartments surrounded by metal they can avoid detection - they can't."
"The ABF has invested heavily in our technological capability in recent years and we can see further into every package than ever before.
"Our officers continue to prove, time and time again, that criminals who attempt to hide these substances in new and imaginative ways are wasting their time.
"It doesn't matter how clever you think your concealment is - we can find it."
Last week the ABF revealed an X-ray of a second hand excavator found 354kg of cocaine concealed inside the machinery addressed to a gardening business in Bungendore near Canberra.
And just last year, the Daily Telegraph revealed a new generation of syndicates are forming sophisticated trafficking and supply networks, creating a dangerous new threat to Australia's borders.
EX PORN STAR AND WORLD TRIP
An around the world cruise paid for by shadowy drug traffickers was meant to be an "easy job with easy money" for a former Canadian porn actress but it ended in four and a half years in a NSW jail.
Isabelle Lagace, 29, was jailed for smuggling up to $21 million worth of cocaine into Sydney aboard the cruise ship Sea Princess.
Her sister said Lagace was convinced the 51-day cruise from the UK to Latin America and Australia would be "an easy job for easy money."
EX NRL STAR AND THE FISHING TRAWLER
A rugby league player pleaded guilty to his role in one of Australia's biggest cocaine rings, which was smashed in a series of dramatic raids on Christmas Day in 2016.
Ex-Rooster John Roland Boyd Tobin, 58, was charged over the alleged syndicate which operated out of Sydney Fish Markets using commercial trawlers to move cocaine from Chile to Australia.
Sniffer dogs made a series of dramatic busts outside our state's jails - discovering wives and girlfriends trying to smuggle contraband to some of the state's most hardened inmates, usually in balloons hidden in their bras.
Two women visiting Goulburn jail were found with 6.4g of heroin, 306g of tobacco and 11.2g of opioid buprenorphine strips between them.
Nearly 50kg of the drug pseudoephedrine was discovered in washing powder cartons at an inner-Sydney property last year.
The 44kg of pseudoephedrine has an estimated potential street value of $1.3 million.
Two teens landed in hot water after being accused of attempting to import illicit drugs from the Netherlands.
A 15-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy linked to a Villawood address allegedly attempted to import more than 3kg of MDMA, or ecstasy, concealed in a coffee machine in July 2017.
PRIME REAL ESTATE
Police in the Macarthur region revealed they were battling new tactics by drug syndicates who were buying up homes in new estates to turn them into hydroponic cannabis houses.
Strike Force Zambesi later executed 411 search warrants in five years across Sydney's south west, including the Macarthur region, seizing more than 48,000 plants worth $140 million, 800kg of cannabis worth $7 million and charging 189 people.
A Potts Point man was caught trying to import 16kg of cocaine hidden inside a box pretending to carry a sausage maker from the US into Australia.
Methamphetamine precursor with a staggering street value of $3.6 billion was seized after the drugs were found hidden in bottles of green tea at the Sydney Container Examination Facility.
Authorities also seized 350kg of ice hidden in liquid plaster solution during a separate seizure arresting three people.
SYdney border police disrupted a major Mexican cartel drug smuggling operation, seizing 24kg of methamphetamine hidden inside home audio speakers.
Australian Border Force officers intercepted an airfreight consignment containing eight speakers and used X-ray scans to find "crystalline substance concealed within the speakers".
21,000 HIGHLIGHTER PENS
Three hundreds kilograms of ephedrine, which could have been turned into $120 million worth of the drug ice, were found hidden in thousands of highlighter markers from China.
The Australian Border Force made the unusual discovery inside 21,000 highlighter markers when they arrived at its Sydney Container Examination Facility in February.
Officers noticed abnormalities with the colourful stationary.
HAIR GEL AND SALAD DRESSING
Sydney's palatial Hyde Park Plaza was the control room in a drug supply network allegedly involving French nationals, social media, hair gel and salad dressing.
The syndicate openly posted its "run phone" number for people to text an order for MDMA , or they used the encrypted messaging app Wickr.
One of the accused later allegedly revealed how he got drugs into Australia hidden inside hair gel containers.
HOT JAIL DINNERS
Prison guards are smuggling illegal contraband such as mobile phones into a privately run Sydney prison during dinner meals, a former prison inmate claimed.
"Stuff is smuggled in through the meals," he said. "Every evening you get a hot meal. It's a tray with a lid on it."
DRUG VERSION OF 'UBER EATS'
Four men were jailed after they were caught operating a highly organised and successful Sydney business described as "the drug version of Uber Eats".
They used taxis to deliver mobile phone orders for cocaine from up to 900 customers.