THREE Brits allegedly smuggled £16 million worth of crystal meth into Australia into as police unveil 24kg drugs plot.
Yvonne Stewart, 52, from Croydon, Kevin Filkins, 52, from Sevenoaks and Robert Hamilton, 51, from Orpington, were arrested on Wednesday morning.
Australian Federal Police inquiries led to the identification of the alleged offendersCredit: Universal News & Sport
Police say the trio smuggled 24kgs of meth into AustraliaCredit: Universal News & Sport
Cargo sector worker Stewart is accused of accepting a shipment filled with methamphetamine.
Police say he failed to properly inspect it before it was marked as security cleared and sent to Australia.
She is also alleged to have tracked the shipment as it travelled through the system, according to police.
Filkins alleged travelled to a Croydon shipping centre on 26 June 2021 and paid for the shipment to be sent to Australia.
Cops believe Hamilton arranged the contact between Filkins and Stewart to organise the shipment.
Once it arrived in Australia in July 20201, Australian Border Force found 24 plastic bags – each holding one kilogram of a crystalline substance which was later found to be methamphetamine.
Australian Federal Police inquiries led to the identification of the trio.
An investigation between the Organised Crime Partnership, a joint team of National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police officers led to the arrests of Stewart, Filkins and Hamilton.
Detective Inspector Guy Carmichael from the Organised Crime Partnership said the drugs would be worth a “significant amount” in the UK but the amount in Australia was higher.
He said: “Some £4 million, but their value in Australia would have been remarkably higher at £16 million, or just shy of $28 million Australian dollars.
“Working closely with partners in Australia, including the Australian Federal Police, means a large quantity of these dangerous drugs taken off the streets and a suspected key supply chain taken out of action.
“We will continue to target those who are supplying illegal drugs, whether within the UK or overseas.”
AFP Detective Acting Inspector Brendon Basford added: “AFP investigators identified a person of interest in the UK tracking a shipment in a manner that we believed was suspicious, and passed on the information we had to the National Crime Agency via the AFP’s international liaison network.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to know that our partners have taken the initial information we provided and built a brief of evidence on criminal offences in the United Kingdom, having a tangible impact on the alleged suppliers to the enterprise seeking to exploit the Australian community.”
ABF Commander Susan Drennan said the arrests are a great a example of international relationships between law enforcement.
She said: “Our tough action against criminals attempting to endanger the lives of those in our community does not stop at our borders.”