Ecstasy worth $20M seized by authorities
HIDDEN in heavy duty machinery, the thousands of tiny multi-coloured tablets would have been worth more than $20 million when sold across the state.
Instead, a federal police and customs sting spoiled the party, uncovering the drugs in the biggest seizure of ecstasy in Queensland.
The drugs – which originated in Holland and made their way to Brisbane by boat over the past fortnight – weighed 135.4kg and included 384,000 tablets and 20kg in powder form.
Two Dutch nationals have been arrested allegedly trying to collect the drugs from a warehouse at Coopers Plains, in southwest Brisbane.
Customs regional director Jenny Eutick yesterday said the investigation began after customs officers at Brisbane Airport questioned and searched a man when he flew in from Europe late last month.
The man was released without charge, but follow-up inquiries revealed he was linked to inbound consignments of heavy lifting machinery.
The consignments began arriving at the Port of Brisbane on several ships over the past fortnight. Federal police and customs officers discovered the ecstasy concealed in the machinery's hollow frames.
The consignments were allowed to travel on to their marked destination under surveillance and police were waiting when the two Dutch nationals arrived to collect the machinery late on Monday.
The haul was kept secret yesterday to allow inquiries to continue internationally.
The two men, aged 31 and 33, have been charged with importing the drug and are due to appear in Brisbane Magistrate's Court on April 22.
Also yesterday, a woman wept after a jury found her not guilty of importing 9kg of ecstasy tablets found in her luggage at Brisbane airport.
Carmen Maria Crespillo-Alvarez was the fourth defendant before the Supreme Court in Brisbane in the past 18 months to be acquitted of importing drugs despite being found in possession of huge amounts of ecstasy or cocaine.
Crespillo-Alvarez's defence was that she had never seen the drugs and her boyfriend, who has pleaded guilty to importing ecstasy, must have hidden them in her bag.
Meanwhile police from the Illicit Laboratory Investigation Team have seized seven amphetamines laboratories over two days this week in Brisbane, Mackay, Ipswich and Narangba