Three held over £37m seizure of heroin

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The Independent Online

Three men will appear in court in Brisbane today after Australian customs officers found heroin worth A$100m (£37m) hidden in boxes of rice noodles on a ship from China.

The 836lb (380kg) consignment – the second largest amount seized in Australia – was found when the shipment was examined with X-ray equipment, 10 days' after its arrival at Fisherman Islands Wharf in Brisbane. Police arrested and charged three Australians with drug-related offences. The three suspects are all from Brisbane and aged in their mid-thirties.

Chris Ellison, Australia's Justice and Customs Minister, said intelligence reports suggested the drugs came from the Golden Triangle – the borders region of Thailand, Burma and Laos – and had been transported across southern China. Its arrival in Brisbane indicated a change in tactics by the traffickers as most previous heroin seizures have been made in Sydney.

Mr Ellison said the seizure had prevented "two million hits" of heroin reaching the streets of Australia and demonstrated the police force's expanded surveillance operations in Beijing and Hong Kong.