Aussie police make massive MDMA bust
Australian police have played a key role in an international drug bust that's prevented 700kg of crystalline MDMA from reaching Brisbane.
Australian Federal Police and Queensland police worked with officers in The Netherlands and Belgium to intercept a huge haul of the drug in the Dutch city of Rotterdam in late August.
That one shipment, bound for Queensland, netted 700kg of crystalline MDMA.
Other raids carried out by Dutch authorities at 15 locations in The Netherlands and Belgium earlier this month uncovered secret drug labs and more drugs.
In all, 850kg of crystalline MDMA was seized, along with 548 litres of MDMA oil and 400 litres of precursor chemicals.
That's enough to make 15 million MDMA pills with a street value of more than $300 million.
Authorities say Australia is a primary market in the global drug trade because Australians are willing to pay a high price for substances that cost a mere fraction elsewhere.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has praised the high level operation, saying it stopped dangerous drugs possibly ending up in the bellies of schoolies.
He also said it was evidence that the war on drugs was effective.
"Those people who tell you that we are losing the fight and the war against drugs don't know what they are talking about," he told reporters in Brisbane.
"We are pushing back on the scourge of serious and organised crime, and as we know the bikies in this country are the biggest distributors, importers, manufacturers of drugs."
Andy Kraag, the assistant commissioner of the Dutch National Criminal Investigation Division, says the sophisticated joint operation dismantled a major criminal network.
"Our Australian colleagues investigated from the demand side and we investigated from the supply side in Holland," he told reporters.
"The joint operation allowed us to close down on these criminals and fully expose and break down this network."
Police have charged 11 people including a 48-year-old woman from Bass Hill in NSW.
She was arrested on November 11 and has been extradited to Brisbane accused of possessing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs - a charge that could see her jailed for life.
The arrests also include two Dutch nationals alleged to be key players in the drug ring, a 58-year-old man who was arrested in Belgium and a 37-year-old man nabbed in The Netherlands.
The investigation by Dutch authorities is ongoing.