Australia seizes $246 million of drugs from China

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Australian police said Wednesday they had seized cocaine and methamphetamine worth Aus$237 million (US$246 million) shipped from China in a consignment of heavy machinery.

Two men, a 33-year-old American and a 34-year-old Canadian, were arrested in Sydney during the sting that recovered 350 kilograms (770 pounds) of narcotics following a "complex and protracted" two-and-a-half-year investigation.

Police said they conducted a series of raids on five locations in the city over the weekend and recovered 235 kilograms of methamphetamine and 115 kilograms of cocaine stashed in a road roller.

"At one location police recovered the road roller as well as 13 sports bags inside it," Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner David Sharpe said.

"In the bags we recovered 350 kilograms of controlled substances."

The Canadian appeared in court on Tuesday charged with a range of offences related to the importation of drugs and bail was refused.

The American man was due in court Wednesday on similar charges.

"We will allege that these are two significant figures in the syndicate and our inquiries are continuing in China, Canada as well as our investigations continuing in Australia," added Sharpe.

"But let me tell you, these are significant players in an international crime syndicate that has targeted Australia."

The bust was the second major success for Australian police within a week after seizing more than 200 kilograms of cocaine from a yacht that washed up on a deserted island in the South Pacific with a badly decomposed body on board.

That case involved police in Tonga, the Cook Islands, Australia and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.