SYDNEY, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Two people appeared at court in Australia on Wednesday, who were accused of importing 233 kg of cocaine from Mexico hidden inside a shipment of aluminium bars.
According to the Australian Border Force (AFB), the operation began in September when officers at the Sydney Container Examination Facility targeted a consignment of 1,890 alloy ingots with an X-ray screening.
Revealing anomalies in the 18-pallet delivery, a joint-agency investigation was commenced between various Australian police and intelligence authorities, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and investigators in Mexico.
As a result of their inquiries, a 61-year-old Briton and a 49-year-old Australian were arrested and charged in connection with the 72-million-U.S. dollar shipment after search warrants were executed at properties across Sydney's west Tuesday.
According to Australian Federal Police Organized Crime Commander Kirsty Schofield, getting the dangerous illicit drug off the streets would not have been possible without vital transnational cooperation.
"We are working closer than ever with Mexican authorities, with an AFP (Australian Police Force) liaison officer working in country to ensure we can work at the source to stop the supply offshore," Schofield said.
"Organized crime networks see Australia as an attractive market to target, due to the high demand for drugs in this country. They don't care about the lives that are impacted through the violent drug supply chain along the way, or the vicious cycle of addiction they are fueling in our communities."
Set to face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment under Australian law for attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, ABF Commander Graeme Grosse said the find serves as a warning to smugglers who employ creative methods to import illegal cargo.
"We have the intelligence capability and the technology to find sophisticated concealments like this, no matter how professional they look," Grosse said.