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Source: State of Victoria Police

Four people have been charged by detectives from Joint Taskforce Icarus after the second largest ever Victoria seizure of 1,4 butanediol in July this year.

Police seized 4.125 tonnes of the drug at a warehouse in Brooklyn on 30 July following information from Australian Border Force (ABF) that the drug was stored in sea cargo.

About 165kg of hypo phosphorous acid was also seized at this time.

Three men were subsequently arrested by police on 30 July.

Subsequent search warrants were executed at two properties in Blanche Street and a property in Sunhill Crescent in Ardeer with the assistance of the Clandestine Laboratory Squad and the Joint Organised Crime Taskforce.

Police located commercial quantities of steroids, a substantial quantity of glassware and precursor chemicals consistent with the manufacture of illicit drugs, MDMA tablets, cash and cannabis at the Blanche Street properties.

Two of the men, both aged 29 from Ardeer were charged with:

• Conspire to traffic large commercial quantity of drug of dependence.

• Attempt to possess drug of dependence

• Conspire to possess precursor chemical; and

• Attempt to possess precursor chemical.

One of the Ardeer men was bailed by the court and will re-appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 27 January 2021.

The second man remains on remand and will also appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 27 January 2021.

The third man, aged 31 from West Footscray was charged with cultivate cannabis.

He was bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 21 February 2021

A fourth man, aged 28 from Airport West was charged and summonsed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 29 October after he was charged with:

• Conspire to traffic large commercial quantity of drug of dependence.

• Attempt to possess drug of dependence

• Conspire to possess precursor chemical; and

• Attempt to possess precursor chemical.

He was bailed by the court to appear on 27 January 2021 for a committal mention hearing.

Victoria Police Crime Command’s Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said 1,4-butandiol was a significant concern for police in Victoria.

“Ultimately, this is a syndicate who could have caused immense harm within Victoria through the sale of these drugs to the community, he said.

“The amount of Butanediol seized is substantial and if you break the volume down into individual doses there are more than one million doses that have been stopped from hitting our streets.

“This is often a drug of choice for users because it’s relatively inexpensive, however it’s highly unpredictable and because it works slowly in the body, we have seen a number of overdoses over the years.

“The difference between survival and a fatal overdose can be incredibly small.

“These arrests and seizures should send a strong message to the community that the targeting of drug trafficking remains a strong priority for Victoria Police, as well as our law enforcement partners.

“We are also seeing significant custodial sentences handed down to people caught up in the importation and distribution of these drugs, which we hope will be a further deterrent for anyone considering engaging in this criminal behaviour.”

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Southern Command Bruce Giles said Joint Taskforce ICARUS remained a step ahead of organised criminal networks attempting to import harmful substances into Australia.

“Criminal syndicates continue to turn to a wide variety of substances in an attempt to make money off the existing demand for illicit substances here in Australia,” he said.

“These arrests are another success for Joint Taskforce ICARUS as it continues to play a key part in combatting this harmful criminal activity, where criminal groups profit from predatory behaviour on people who are not fully aware of the dangers these substances pose to their health.”

ABF acting Commander Enforcement Operations South, Nicholas Walker said the operation is another example of the results being achieved by the high levels of joint agency cooperation between Australia’s law enforcement agencies.

“Our partnerships and information sharing continue to lead to large detections and significant operational results. We’re not only detecting drugs at the border; we’re smashing the criminal syndicates involved in their importation.” Commander Walker said.

“My message, once again, to anyone thinking of engaging in this type of activity, is to reconsider. The collaborative work between Australia’s law enforcement agencies, mean you will be caught.”

Joint Task Force Icarus is comprised of members of Victoria Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police and the Department of Home Affairs.

Anyone with information about drug importation or drug trafficking is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppers.com.au.

Leading Senior Constable Natalie Dean

Media Officer

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