Spicy ice: Australian police find $272M worth of meth hidden in sriracha bottles

Four men have been charged with importing around 400 kilograms of methylamphetamine, stashed in sriracha bottles. NSW Police Force

A large batch of sriracha was cooled down with some ice after Australian police found $272 million worth of meth hidden inside the bottles.

According to a statement released by the NSW Police Force, four men have been charged for importing 400 kilograms of methylamphetamine.

It was detected by the Australian Border Force (ABF), who found it concealed in bottles of sriracha from the United States.

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They first caught wind of a suspicious air cargo consignment on Oct. 15 when it arrived at the Sydney freight depot.

“The consignment, which was declared to contain hot chilli sauce, was examined by ABF officers who noted inconsistencies,” the statement reads.

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“During a subsequent deconstruction, it was found to contain 768 bottles of sriracha chilli sauce, with presumptive testing returning a positive indicator for methylamphetamine (ice).”

“This has been a complex investigation and we know the methylamphetamine in this import was headed for a clandestine lab in the Sydney Metropolitan area for the extraction process to occur,” acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said in a news release shared by the police force on their Facebook page.

“We will not stop with the arrests of these four men who are key members of the network. We will conduct further investigations with our law enforcement partners to identify other people linked to the group.”

Per the force’s official news release, the discovery was part of a larger investigation of co-ordinated money laundering across Sydney and importation and supply of illicit drugs that began in September 2018.

Just before 2 p.m. on Oct. 20, a 36-year-old man was arrested outside a home.

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At 6 p.m. the following day, detectives arrested two men from Victoria, aged 30 and 34, in a hotel parking lot in Sydney.

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A vehicle search resulted in the seizure of eight boxes containing bottles of sriracha, box cutters, moving bags and gardening gloves.

After they obtained a search warrant for the hotel suite the men were staying in, police found 26 boxes of sriracha and four mobile phones.

All three of the men were charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawful import of a border-controlled drug or large commercial drug supply.

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A fourth man, 45, was arrested outside a home on Oct. 31 and transported to Fairfield Police Station. He’s been charged with possessing identity information to commit an indictable offence.

He was granted conditional bail, but the three others were not.

According to Reuters, crystal methamphetamine is one of the most “potent varieties of amphetamine drug.”

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It’s one of the most consumed and seized illicit drugs in Australia.

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