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Eight arrested in huge drug-smuggling bust

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Roje Adaimy

Eight people have been arrested over a multi-million dollar drug smuggling operation off Australia's east coast.

Around $54 million worth of ice was found on a boat as it arrived at Palm Beach, in Sydney's north last Friday.

It followed a large-scale joint operation between Australian and Chinese authorities that began earlier this month.

Three men from China who were on board a small tender - launched from a larger vessel being monitored by the Australian Border Force - were arrested by Australian Federal Police, as well as the two men from New Zealand and Taiwan who met the boat onshore.

Three barrels containing around 90 litres of liquid methamphetamine were discovered on board.

All five men have been charged with the importation and possession of a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs and faced court last Friday.

Three other men were then arrested on Sunday after a fishing boat was intercepted off the coast of Hervey Bay, Queensland.

They were all charged with aiding and abetting the importation of a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

All eight men have been refused bail.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the seizure was a very serious blow against organised criminals who peddle in the misery of drug trafficking.

"This interception comes as a result of the strong ties and intelligence gained from our law enforcement partners in China," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"Together we are determined to disrupt the insidious ice trade that continues to pose a significant risk to the communities of Australia and China."

Since the partnership with Chinese authorities began a year ago, approximately six tonnes of drugs and precursors have been seized.

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