SYDNEY: Australian authorities are investigating after 585kg of Ice worth nearly A$440 million (US$314 million) were found hidden in refrigerators from a Singapore shipment.
The container, which was declared to contain electric ovens, was intercepted by border officials in Sydney on Mar 30.
Officials found 11 commercial refrigerators and X-rays revealed inconsistencies within their construction, according to a media release on Monday (Apr 8) by the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force (ABF) and New South Wales Police.
Seven of the refrigerators contained 561 packages of "white crystalline substances", which later tested positive for methylamphetamine, or Ice, the media release added.
"Forensic analysis determined the packages contained a total of 585kg of Ice, which has an estimated potential street value of A$438 million."
The shipment came from Singapore, said ABF Superintendent Garry Low at a press conference on Monday.
In response to questions, Low said: “The actual container came from Singapore and the actual nature of where the actual drugs came from is ongoing in the investigation.”
Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) told CNA on Apr 10 that it is aware of the case and is liaising with authorities in Australia.
On Apr 13, CNB and Singapore Customs said in a joint statement that the container was "passing through Singapore".
"Preliminary investigations by the CNB and Singapore Customs have ascertained that the container did not originate from Singapore, but was passing through Singapore on its way to Australia. Investigations are ongoing," the joint statement said.
Australian authorities have also seized documents and electronic storage devices in relation to the case, during a search on a commercial property in Sydney suburb Wetherill Park and a home in Edensor Park.
Update: This story has been updated to include a response from the Central Narcotics Bureau.