Four alleged members of a sophisticated Vietnamese-Australian crime syndicate have been arrested after $123 million worth of liquid methamphetamine was found concealed in a shipment of mustard bottles.
Border force officials intercepted a shipment of more than 1600 bottles of French's classic yellow mustard thah arrived via air cargo from Chicago in the United States on November 11.
Police have seized more than 1600 bottles of mustard which contained liquid methamphetamine.Credit:AFP
The bottles contained more than 560 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine, which is cooked in clandestine labs to make ice.
It is the largest seized importation of liquid methamphetamine in Victorian history and the second largest nationally.
After it was discovered, crime scene specialists from the Australian Federal Police conducted forensic testing on the consignment and confirmed the two pallets contained liquid methamphetamine with an estimated street value of more than $123 million.
The liquid meth is estimated to be worth more than $123 million. Credit:AFL
Four dual Vietnamese nationals who are allegedly part of a criminal syndicate were arrested on Friday morning.
A 29-year old Sunshine man was arrested at a Campbellfield home, a 28-year-old St Albans man was arrested at his home, and a 34-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman were arrested at their Albion property.
At the Albion property, investigators seized several kilograms of suspected illicit drugs believed to be heroin and methamphetamine.
Raids were conducted throughout Friday in St Albans, Sunshine and Sunshine North, and at commercial properties in Parkville and Sunshine.
The mustard bottles seized by police. Credit:Simone Fox Koob
A clandestine laboratory allegedly linked to the criminal syndicate was also discovered in St Albans on Friday. The scene was secured before a search warrant was executed on Sunday.
Police are expecting to make more arrests as the investigation continues.
The four people allegedly linked to the syndicate have been charged. They faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday night and will appear again on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old Sunshine man was been charged with importing commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs and attempted possession of border-controlled drugs.
The 34-year-old Albion man and the 28-year-old St Albans man have both been charged with attempting to possess commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs.
Australian Border Force Assistant Commissioner Phil Brezzo, Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Bruce Giles and Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill. Credit:Simone Fox Koob
Australian Border Force Assistant Commissioner Phil Brezzo said sophisticated targeting methodologies and "officer intuition" had led to the mustard bottle discovery.
"Countless lives have just been saved from drug-related devastation, as a direct result of targeting high-risk consignments and ABF officer's skill and dedication on the front line," he said.
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