Plot to send meth hidden behind painting from Canada to Australia foiled

INFORMATION sharing between Canadian, American, and Australian authorities led to the seizure of methamphetamine and the arrest of a Western Australian man last month, the BC RCMP Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC) announced on Tuesday.

When Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers in the Air Cargo operations inspected a package destined for Western Australia, they located a quantity of suspected methamphetamine. The CBSA quickly notified the BC RCMP FSOC’s Major Projects team for further investigation.

With some excellent cooperation between the CBSA, RCMP, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, US Homeland Security Investigations and the Australian Federal Police, the package was put back into circulation with a placebo in place of the drugs.

The Australian Federal Police conducted a controlled delivery to its destination in Embleton, Western Australia. A search warrant was subsequently executed on the residence and police allegedly located the placebo buried in the garden, with other parts of the painting discarded behind bins. In total, 4.1kg of meth were seized by police and one male was arrested to appear in court the following day.

“Our goal is to stop the flow of illicit drugs from overseas and onto Australian streets and prosecute anyone involved in this dirty trade,” said Detective Inspector Andrea Coleman of the Australian Federal Police. “Methamphetamine use causes immense harm, not only to users but to the wider community.”

“Collaboration between international partner agencies is becoming increasingly necessary due to the globalization of crime,” said Inspector Jillian Wellard, Operations Officer for the RCMP Major Projects team involved. “This file speaks volumes to the exceptional working relationships between Canadian, Australian and US law enforcement in the battle against cross-border drug smuggling.”

The 38-year-old man faces charges of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug contrary to the Australian Criminal Code.

The Australian Federal Police said in a press release: “This amount of methamphetamine could have been sold as street level deals to 41,000 people and netted those involved in its distribution approximately $4 million.”

It added: “This seizure comes just three weeks after the AFP and [Australian Border Force] intercepted an importation into [Western Australia] of 18 kilograms of meth that had been dissolved in a tub of black waterproofing paste.”

The AFP’s press release on this case is dated October 31, but the RCMP released this information only on Tuesday (November 30) – a month later.