Record 900kg ice haul worth $900m seized by police
THE biggest ice haul in Australia's history has been seized by authorities in Melbourne, after they uncovered a record-breaking 903kg of methylamphetamine worth $898 million stuffed inside floorboards.
The almost billion-dollar drug stash was discovered in a joint operation between the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police.
Two men - aged 53 and 36 -- have now been charged with drug trafficking offences.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised authorities for intercepting the cache, describing traffickers as "merchants of death".
"We are working internationally and nationally to catch these merchants of death, these people who traffic in ice, to catch them and intercept their deadly cargoes and we're successful in doing that," he said.
"At the same time, we're working with compassion with the community and people who have become subject to ice addiction to help them."
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana said the record haul of ice was discovered following an investigation into a drug syndicate, which resulted in the seizure of 40kg of methamphetamine, 175,000 cigarettes and also $140,000 in cash and other contraband.
In the past week, AFP and Australian Border Force officers arrested three Vietnamese nationals in Melbourne and seized 300kg of ice hidden inside metal gates.
Australians in rural areas are consuming the illicit drug at twice the rate of those in cities, according to data released in 2016.
Men aged between 18 and 24 were found to be the most frequent users.