Record size shipment of the deadly opioid fentanyl into Melbourne in Australia was discovered inside ammunition boxes imported to Melbourne, the Australian Federal Police said.
More than 5,000,000 doses of the drug were seized on February 3, when 11 kilograms of pure powdered fentanyl and 30 kilograms of methamphetamine were found by Australian Border Force staff inside an industrial wooden lathe that arrived from Canada in December 2021.
The estimated net worth of the methamphetamine had a value of $27,000,000.
Record Seizure of Deadly Opioid Found Inside Ammo Boxes Imported Into Melbourne
The drugs were hidden amongst almost 60 kilograms of powdered substances found inside military-style ammunition boxes concealed within a three-tonne lathe.
To safely remove the drugs from the lathe, it took police two weeks and analyse it due to the deadly risk fentanyl poses.
Officers had to wear protective biohazard suits said the AFP acting Commander Anthony Hall to protect against any skin contact with the drug, which can cause harm, loss of consciousness and even death, while Ambulance Victoria was on standby.
“The lethality of fentanyl, even in small doses, required our forensic officers to wear bio-hazard suits and we had multiple ambulances on standby,” he said.
“Even in this highly controlled environment, there was a risk to our members’ safety.”
The drug is primarily used for medical purposes in Australia, but it is has been cut with heroin in overseas illicit drug markets, leading to fatal consequences, according to the AFP.
Australian authorities have only ever detected illicit fentanyl importations in amounts less than 30 grams.
AFP acting Commander Anthony Hall said a dangerous cocktail of substances was created by criminal syndicates illicit drugs such as heroin with fentanyl.
“People who use illicit drugs can never be certain what they are ingesting and this seizure highlights the potentially lethal game of Russian roulette they play,” he said.
ABF Commander Maritime and Enforcement South James Watson said the “massive amount of fentanyl” being seized had “undoubtedly saved many, many lives”.
The AFP, ABF and the Department of Home Affairs are working together to track down those responsible for importing the fentanyl.