Australian Police probe after $6.6m MDMA haul found on cargo ship

Photo credit: The Australian Border Force

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is appealing for public assistance after about $6.6m worth of MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, was discovered in February 2024 during an inspection of a cargo ship docked at Fremantle Harbour, in Western Australia.

In mid-February, Australian Border Force (ABF) officers with the assistance of drug detector dogs, found about 120kg of the drug concealed inside the panels of six new Peugeot vans, out of a consignment of 105, onboard the vessel, which arrived in Western Australia from Europe on February 18.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) seized the drugs, which were hidden in the sliding door panels of vehicles that were destined for New South Wales.

“Clearly there are people in Australia who know who organised this importation and who the intended recipients were,” said AFP Acting Commander Peter Hatch in a statement.

“The criminal distributors would have likely combined the MDMA with other substances before turning the drugs into pills using a pill press. Criminals don’t care if they add other harmful substances to the illicit drugs to make the pills. People have no idea what they are ingesting when they take these pills.”

Hatch urged anyone with information about the planned importation to contact police.

James Payne, ABF Acting Commander, said the detection of such a significant amount of concealed drugs spoke to the professionalism and dedication of ABF officers in protecting Australia’s border.

“This is yet another demonstration of an audacious attempt to conceal the importation of a dangerous drug that has been thwarted by the ABF,” Acting Commander Payne said.

“We are working together with our law enforcement partners to ensure the border remains a hostile environment for criminal syndicates attempting to use our ports for their illicit schemes.”