Australia seizes 527 pounds of methamphetamine in country's biggest bust


Detective Inspector Greg Cramer points to a bag of crystal meth pills confiscated on August 19, 2010, in Auckland, New Zealand.


Phil Walter

Australia made its biggest methamphetamine bust in its history, seizing 527 pounds of the drug also called "ice" and arresting four people, police announced Thursday.

The drugs were seized in raids across Sydney and Perth over the past two months, AP reports.

Their street value, states AFP, would have been up to Aus$50 million (US$54 million).

"This investigation strikes a significant blow to organized criminal groups operating in Australia," Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Kevin Zuccato told AFP.

He said the strength of Australia's domestic currency and the sophistication of transnational crime syndicates was making the country a hot spot for drug trafficking.

The four arrested face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The Australian Crime Commission said last month that organized crime costs the Australian economy Aus$15 billion (US$16.1 billion) a year, ABC News reports.

"Australians are among the world's highest per capita consumers of illicit stimulants and drug prices in Australia far exceed prices overseas, making domestic drug production and importation highly profitable," the report said.