In one of Australia’s biggest drug busts ever, 50 gallons of liquid methylamphetamine were discovered inside silicon push-up bra inserts shipped from mainland China. An investigation lead to 140 more gallons (worth $900 million in total) inside some art supplies stashed in five storage units in Sydney, the AP reports.
According to officials, that’s enough to make about 1,100 pounds of high-grade crystal meth and “the result of organized criminals targeting the lucrative Australian ice market from offshore.” How lucrative is it? Al Jazeera:
An Australian Crime Commission report published last year found that while $80 bought one gramme of ice in China, users in Australia had to pay $500 for the same amount.
Australia has had a meth problem for some time. Though the overall methamphetamine use hasn’t really changed since 2001, “speed” (the powdered form) is out and “ice” (an allegedly more “pure” crystal methamphetamine) is in. A government report suggested that Australia’s “ice” use has doubled since 2007, with more than 200,000 users in 2013, and “anecdotal evidence of higher current numbers.”
Last year, then-Prime Minister Tony Abott announced a 300 million Australian dollar ($214 million US) strategy to fight the “ice epidemic.” That endeavor includes the unfortunately-named Taskforce Blaze, a new cooperation between Australian Federal Police and China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, which was ultimately responsible for this week’s bust.
Almost half of those who responded to a University of NSW survey believed between 30% and 100% of Australians had tried ice in their lifetime. The latest available national drug data shows 7% of Australians have used a form of methamphetamine at some point and that 1% had used ice in the previous 12 months.