'Second largest in Australian history': Crime squad hailed for seizing $1.5 billion drug haul


The seizure of $1.5 billion worth of drugs in Sydney has seen 2.8 tonnes of MDMA and ice taken off the streets.

A drugs bust worth more than $1.5 billion has seen almost twice as much ice taken off the streets as the previous largest seizure.

MDMA was also amongst the huge haul found in a shipping container bound for Australia, but crime fighting bosses said the seizure of ice (methamphetamine) was particularly significant given the damage it is doing.

Six men were arrested in the early hours of Saturday morning after police conducted a sting and detained them as they unloaded the drugs in Smithfield in Sydney's west.

The men, all Australian residents aged from 23 to 34, were due to appear at Parramatta Local Court later on Saturday.

"We've been warning for some time that ice is the most dangerous of all of these drugs that we've seized," Australian Crime Commission CEO Chris Dawson told a news conference at the AFP office in Sydney's CBD on Saturday afternoon.

"This is a national problem, it is one that pervades our streets, it does impact very much on the volume of crime."

Prime Minister Tony Abbott congratulated the Australian Federal Police on the drug seizure, describing it as a "landmark day in the fight against organised crime".

"Potentially thousands of lives have been saved today as a result of the excellent work of our police and law enforcement agencies," Mr Abbott said in a joint statement with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

"The drugs seized would not have been limited to Sydney - they would have had a devastating impact if they were trafficked around the entire country."

The 2.8 tonnes of MDMA and ice was discovered by Australian Customs and Border Protection Service officers hidden amongst furniture in a container at the German port of Hamburg earlier in November following a large-scale operation.

The drugs went on to arrive in Australia on November 19, with investigators continuing to track the consignment and conducting a "controlled delivery" to an address in Blacktown before it was moved on to Smithfield.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin told the press conference that while 849kg of ice was seized, the previous largest haul was 580kg.

The bust also saw 1917kg of MDMA confiscated by the Joint Organised Crime Group, which includes the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police, Customs and Border Protection and Australian Crime Commission.

The operation has seen "billions of dollars worth of illicit drugs off the streets just before the start of the summer party season," NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said.

"My advice is to go somewhere else, go to another country. Don't bring your evil poison here to Australia," he said. "And if we can't make you see the light, we'll make you feel the heat."

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