- Australian and Hong Kong authorities seized $1 billion worth of meth disguised as coconut water.
- One officer estimated the meth could have been sold in as many as 18 million street level deals.
- Australian officials said their agents in Mexico identified the shipment traveling through Hong Kong.
Border authorities seized nearly $1 billion worth of meth that was hidden in coconut water cartons bound for Australia, the Australian Federal Police, or AFP, said on Sunday.
The AFP said the coconut water shipment contained 1.9 tons of liquid meth, which was discovered on October 23 as part of a joint effort between Australian officials and Hong Kong customs authorities.
The drugs have a wholesale value of around $345 million, but have a street value of $1.03 billion, the AFP said in a statement.
The government agency described the amount as “record-breaking,” though it did not specify what record the seizure had shattered. The AFP did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The agency said it had agents in Mexico who helped identify the shipment, which was supposed to be transported from Mexico to New South Wales through Hong Kong.
“This amount of meth could have been sold as about 18 million street-level deals, so the New South Wales and Australian community is safer because these drugs were seized,” said AFP Detective Superintendent Patrick Gordon, a senior officer in Mexico, per the AFP’s statement.
The agency estimated that it saved around $471 million in public costs for dealing with drug-related harm, crime, healthcare, and loss of productivity.
Australian police are no strangers to huge drug busts involving novel smuggling methods. In August, Australian authorities seized two tons of meth found in marble tiles shipped from the United Arab Emirates, as well as $106 million of crystal meth in a vintage Bentley.
In 2019, Australian police seized nearly $1 billion worth of meth hidden in stereo speakers smuggled in from Thailand.