Three men have faced court following a record drugs bust that “severed the head” of an international crime syndicate, according to Victoria Police.
Duc Nguyen, 28, Tung Nguyen, 29, and Nhat Le, 34, faced magistrate Tara Hartnett in Melbourne on Tuesday after more than 560kg of liquid methamphetamine was seized last Friday.
They were all charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of methamphetamine, while Tung Nguyen was also charged with importing the border-controlled drug.
The alleged members of a transnational crime syndicate operating in Melbourne did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.
Helen Nguyen, 34, was charged with possessing a commercial quantity of heroin and ice before being refused bail on Tuesday.
All four were arrested last Friday.
Australian Federal Police on Monday said it was the largest importation of liquid methamphetamine in Victorian history, worth more than $123 million, and the second-largest nationally.
The federal police ran an operation with the Australian Border Force and Victoria Police once border force officials detected the drugs in Melbourne.
The liquid meth was found on November 11 in more than 1600 mustard bottles, sent as air cargo from Chicago.
“We have dismantled an international crime syndicate – we have severed the head of the snake,” Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill said.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Bruce Giles said there were a number of raids in suburban Melbourne on Friday and across the weekend.
Giles said police also found several kilograms of what are believed to be commercial quantities of heroin and meth at an Albion location, as well as a clandestine laboratory in St Albans.
He added further arrests are not being ruled out.
“This operation shows that criminals continue to prey on our community, causing drug-related crime and misery, along with associated health and social costs,” he said.
ABF Assistant Commissioner Phil Brezzo said their officers had “seen everything” when it came to drug importation.
“There are varying levels of sophistication and this one is up there,” he said of the seized shipment.
The four accused will face court in May 2021.