Australian Border Force (ABF) investigators have arrested and charged a 37-year-old Chinese national with allegedly importing more than 9.5 kilograms of ephedrine concealed inside dried fish and other dried seafood.

On 8 July 2017 a consignment marked as ‘dried food’, sent via express mail from China, was selected for further examination by ABF officers at the Sydney mail gateway facility.

X-rays revealed anomalies within the package and a physical inspection revealed 19 packets of ephedrine.

After further investigations, ABF officers executed search warrants at properties in West Ryde and Rydalmere, during which the officers seized an additional package of ephedrine weighing 9.5 kilograms and a BB gun.

The combined street value of both seizures is estimated to be $1.9 million.

One man was arrested and charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled precursor, contrary to Criminal Code Act 1995, Section 307.11(1), which carries a maximum penalty for an individual of 25 years’ imprisonment and or a fine not exceeding $900,000.

Ephedrine is used as a precursor agent in the manufacture of illegal amphetamine substances, such as ice.

Acting Commander ABF Investigations Matt Stock, said the detection was another great example of the ABF’s ability to detect and investigate illicit importations and disrupt the local manufacture of methamphetamine.

“This is a significant detection thanks to outstanding work by ABF officers and investigators, and as a result, a large amount of drugs will never make it to our streets and cause further damage to our community”, Acting Commander Stock said.

“Even using unique concealments like this these, importers are no match for our highly trained officers and cutting-edge x-ray technology.”

The man appeared before Parramatta Local Court on 11 July 2017 and was remanded in custody to reappear on 22 August 2017.