KUALA LUMPUR: Two Malaysians, including one with a student visa, were detained by Australian authorities on suspicion of being involved in the smuggling of 1,266kg of ephedrine into the country.
Boxes containing the ephedrine were hidden in a container which was declared as containing furniture from China.
The suspects, aged 63 and 22, were detained on Sept 16 at a warehouse in Roselands, Sydney.
They were nabbed in the midst of opening the boxes containing the ephedrine.
It is understood that the Australian Border Force (ABF) had scanned the container at the Sydney Container Inspection Centre on Sept 10.
The scan revealed the existence of dubious material in 127 boxes hidden among furniture.
The container was released by the authorities to be delivered to the Roselands warehouse. However, the ABF monitored the container’s movements before they moved in to detain the two suspects.
New South Wales ABF regional commander Danielle Yannopoulos said
1,266kg of ephedrine was found in the boxes.
She said the amount was sufficient to produce a tonne of syabu with an estimated market value of A$750 million (RM2.1 billion).
“The 63-year-old suspect entered the country using a visitor visa a few weeks ago while the 22-year-old has a student visa.
“Both were taken to the Burwood Local Court on Sept 17 where they were remanded.
“They will be charged at the Downing Central Court on Nov 13,” she said, adding that the two suspects would be charged with importing illegal substances in large quantities and face a maximum jail term of 25 years or a fine of AUD 1.05 million (RM2.9 million), or both.
Ephedrine is a type of medication or stimulant and is used as a base ingredient for the production of high quality synthetic drugs.