Shocking find in suitcases and boxes
More than 175kg of methylamphetamine and about $8.1 million in cash have been seized following two separate police operations targeting the transportation of drugs across Western Australia's border.
The first seizure happened after police stopped a truck with NSW number plates on the Great Eastern Highway in Meckering just before 7.30am on January 29.
A police narcotic detection dog was deployed, then the truck and its trailers were searched by officers.
They allegedly found 14.6kg of meth and about $3.6 million in cash hidden in one of the trailers.
"The truck has been seized and frozen under proceeds of crime legislation," police said in a statement on Wednesday.
The truck driver, a 37-year-old man from NSW, has been charged with possessing a prohibited drug with intent to sell or supply and laundering money from proceeds of a major offence.
The second seizure happened after detectives attended a truck bay on the South Western Highway in Fairbridge just before 3pm on February 3 and searched the vehicle, which also had NSW registration plates.
Almost $4.5 million in cash was allegedly found inside four suitcases in the truck, which was then seized under proceeds of crime legislation.
Two vans, which were allegedly seen being loaded with boxes from the truck, were also intercepted and searched.
Four boxes containing packages of meth were allegedly found in one van, while 11 were discovered in the second van. In total, 163kg of meth was seized.
A 40-year-old NSW man, who was allegedly driving the truck, and two WA men, aged 51 and 30, who were allegedly driving the vans, have each been charged with a string of offences.
In addition, police seized a total of 34kg of meth, 1.5kg of heroin and 5kg of cocaine in three other busts in January.
But police have not released further information about those cases.
Police deputy commissioner Col Blanch said serious and organised crime groups remained a significant target of police operations.
"The targeting of transport routes will remain a particular focus of investigations and intelligence gathering activities, including key arterial roads in regional WA and border entry points," he said.
"This focus is due to the interstate nature of the drug syndicates that are targeting WA, and their efforts not only to deliver drugs into the state, but move their cash holdings back to the eastern states."
Mr Blanch warned any vehicle used to help facilitate criminal activity would also be seized and frozen under proceeds of crime laws.
"This means any person who thinks they can profit from allowing their vehicles to be used by others to transport drugs risk losing those assets, which may also be their primary source of income," he said.
"Every person involved in the distribution of drugs, from the top of the drug syndicate to the bottom, play a role in spreading the misery of meth on our streets and they can all expect to be a focus of our operations.
"Our intelligence sharing with other state and commonwealth intelligence and law enforcement agencies will continue to make WA a hostile environment for drug syndicates to operate in."
Originally published as Shocking find in suitcases and boxes