Three charged in Australia over Mexican cartel drug operation

19 Jun 2023 12:30pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - File photo by AFP
Image for illustrative purposes only. - File photo by AFP

SYDNEY, Australia - Three men were charged in Sydney amid an investigation into a Mexican cartel suspected of importing hundreds of kilogrammes of methamphetamine into Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand, German news agency (dpa) quoted Australian authorities on Monday.

The three men - two US citizens and a Sydney resident - were charged with one count each of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine. The offence carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

The were arrested as part of an international investigation which began when several shipments of methamphetamine and cocaine hidden in plastic pallets and electrical transformers were seized in Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong and New Zealand in May 2022.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said in a statement that the Mexican crime syndicate is alleged to have sent 375 kg of methamphetamine, also known as meth or ice, from Los Angeles to Sydney in five shipments from April 2022 to February 2023.

The Mexican cartel is alleged to have organised the shipment of another 447 kg of liquid methamphetamine and 120 kg of cocaine hidden in shipments of electrical transformers which were seized in Hong Kong in February and March 2022.

A further 106 kg of meth was seized in New Zealand in February 2019.

The AFP said the drugs were suspected to have been Australia bound.

"The arrest of three people here in Australia and their connection to a wider Mexican-based cartel gives us valuable insight into the operations of organised crime groups and will help us and our partners create a hostile environment for them to operate in," said AFP Detective Superintendent Kristie Cressy. - BERNAMA-dpa

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