Yvonne Stewart, Kevin Filkins and Robert Hamilton have been charged with allegedly smuggling 24 kilograms of crystal meth worth nearly £16 million into Australia
Three Brits have been charged after allegedly smuggling 24 kilograms of crystal meth worth nearly £16 million into Australia last year.
A 52-year-old woman from Croydon, a 52-year-old man from Sevenoaks and a 51-year-old man from Orpington were arrested by officers in the UK on Wednesday.
One of the trio, a worker in the cargo sector, is accused of accepting a shipment filled with methamphetamine and failing 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 traveled through the system.
One of the men is believed to have traveled to the shipping center in Croydon on June 26, 2021, and paid for the shipment to be sent to Australia.
The third is alleged to have arranged the contact between the other two to organize the shipment.
Upon arrival in Australia in July 2021, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers selected the consignment for examination and found 24 plastic bags, each containing one kilo of a crystalline substance. Subsequent testing confirmed this to be methamphetamine.
Australian police identified the British trio after having focused their investigation on an Australia-based crime syndicate which is allegedly behind multiple drug trafficking operations.
The trio were arrested by the Organized Crime Partnership, a joint team of National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police officers.
Detective Inspector Guy Carmichael, of the Organized Crime Partnership, said: “These drugs would be worth a significant amount in the UK, 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 (AFP), 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 said: “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 offenses in the United Kingdom, having a tangible impact on the alleged suppliers to the enterprise seeking to exploit the Australian community.”
The three Brits were charged with being concerned in the export of Class A drugs.
One man was also charged with possession with intent to supply a Class B drug and production of a Class B drug after a number of cannabis plants were found at his address.