Australia

Australia makes 'largest ever' crystal meth seizure

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Media caption"Significant intelligence led us to the warehouse," say police

Australian police have made the largest seizure of crystal methamphetamine in the nation's history, officials say.

The 903kg (1,990lb) haul of the drug, also called ice, is estimated to have a street value of A$898m (£546m; $680m), Justice Minister Michael Keenan says.

The drugs were found hidden in 70 boxes of wooden floorboards at a warehouse in Melbourne, according to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Two men have been charged with drug trafficking offences.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised the police operation, describing drug traffickers as "merchants of death".

"This was nearly a tonne of ice, so this is a great credit to our border protection and our police in confiscating this enormous shipment," he said.

Image copyright Australian Federal Police
Image caption The drugs are estimated to have a street value of A$898m (£546m; $680m)

The operation followed an investigation into an international group. Authorities said the drugs probably originated in Asia, but they did not say where.

"You can see a fairly sophisticated concealment methodology where organised crime groups are going to great lengths to try and thwart the activities of law enforcement, particularly our border controls," AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said.

"But we are united in bringing these people to justice."

The arrested men, both from Melbourne, are aged 53 and 36. Police were looking for two other suspects.

In 2015, Australia's government established a national taskforce to tackle the growing use of crystal methamphetamine, which has become the most common illicit drug in the country.

The move followed a report by the Australian Crime Commission that found ice posed the highest risk to communities of any illegal substance.

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