Police in Australia have arrested four men in connection with $210 million worth of methylamphetamine found hidden inside hundreds of bottles of sriracha in a cargo container imported from the United States.
A 45-year-old man was arrested Thursday morning just outside a home in Edensor Park, a suburb of Sydney, after task force agents with the NSW Police Force linked him to three other suspects arrested earlier this month in connection with a cargo shipment filled with 768 bottles of sriracha that contained meth, law enforcement said in news release.
The initial bust happened on Oct. 15 after Australian Border Force officials were suspicious of an air cargo consignment that had recently arrived at a Sydney freight depot from the U.S. While searching the container, they discovered hundreds of bottles of the popular chili sauce but were tipped off when agents began to notice “inconsistencies.”
Forensic analysis showed that the contents of the bottle tested positive for methylamphetamine, which is locally known as “ice."
Police said that the 881 pounds of drugs hold an estimated street value of around $210 million.
A 36-year-old man was initially arrested in Plumpton on Oct 20. The following day, two more Victorian men, 30 and 34, were arrested in the carpark of a Sydney hotel. Police found eight boxes of sriracha in the car and 26 more boxes inside the hotel.
“This has been a complex investigation and we know the methylamphetamine in this import was headed for a clandestine lab in the Sydney Metropolitan area for the extraction process to occur,” acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said in a news release.
“We will not stop with the arrests of these four men who are key members of the network. We will conduct further investigations with our law enforcement partners to identify other people linked to the group,” Smith said.
The suspects were all charged with attempt to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawful import: border-controlled drug and large commercial drug supply.