A 51-year-old Chinese woman from Lakemba, and a 56-year-old Chinese man from Lakemba, were arrested by the AFP and NSWPF, and charged with the state-based offence of manufacture and production of prohibited drugs, contrary to section 24 of the Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW).
Investigators from joint agency Operation Sudwala attended a home in Lakemba, NSW on Tuesday, 3 July 2018 to execute a routine search warrant for evidence-gathering purposes, in connection with an ongoing investigation which has been running since 2017.
As part of this investigation in January 2018, police seized 70 litres of methamphetamine and arrested a 53-year-old Hong Kong national for his alleged involvement in the manufacturing of the drug. Intelligence provided by New Zealand Police was instrumental in leading to this activity.
Following this arrest, the joint agency team continued investigations, and on Tuesday, 3 July, Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF) and Australian Border Force (ABF) officers attended a house in Lakemba, and uncovered information which led to a second property of interest in Beverly Hills, NSW.
Police executed two further search warrants at Beverly Hills properties and discovered a clandestine drug laboratory, which police allege was being used to extract methamphetamine from fabric soaked in the substance.
NSWPF State Crime Command Drug and Firearms Squad (Chemical Operations) attended and assisted investigators at the scene.
During the searches across Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 July, investigators located approximately 15-17kg of a substance which returned a positive result for methamphetamine. A quantity of fabric soaked in a substance believed to be methamphetamine was also located at the scene. An estimated total of 150 litres of liquid methamphetamine was recovered.
Further forensic testing will be carried out to determine the exact weight and purity of the substances.
Investigations remain ongoing and further arrests have not been ruled out.
AFP Coordinator Organised Crime, Detective acting Superintendent Mark Webster, said the discovery of the lab was a result of policing partnerships in action.
“This result is an example of good police work, involving detectives and intelligence analysts working together from a number of different law enforcement agencies. The seizure of illicit drugs is significant, as is the level of disruption caused to this criminal syndicate,” Detective acting Superintendent Webster said.
“There is more work to do to ensure that we make life as difficult as possible for organised crime syndicates operating in our community. We will continue this fight with our partners utilising our full suite of capabilities.”
This investigation has involved members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), Australian Border Force (ABF), Department of Home Affairs (DHA), NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC)
Source: Border Force