A Sydney man is dealing with life in jail after federal police intercepted cocaine price $248m hid in frozen fruit merchandise from Brazil.

AFP and Border Drive officers seized 552kg of the drug hidden in pallets of banana pulp and branded with koala footage in Sydney on Friday.

In addition they arrested a 68-year-old man at Forestville, within the metropolis’s north-west, following a tip-off from US authorities in regards to the cargo, which arrived in Australia on 21 September.

Police allege Mark De Hesselle collected 139 containers of the pulp and searched by way of them to take away the medicine.

He has been charged with making an attempt to import a business amount of border-controlled medicine and possessing a business amount of unlawfully imported border-controlled medicine.

Each offences carry a most penalty of life imprisonment.

AFP detective superintendent Geoffrey Turner stated Covid-19 border restrictions had not prevented legal teams attempting a spread of strategies to deliver illicit medicine into Australia.

“Organised crime teams and their associates are taking larger dangers and trying to transfer extra illicit items in bulk on account of international lockdowns,” he stated.

“They assume selecting day by day gadgets reminiscent of fruit could be innocuous sufficient to thwart legislation enforcement detection.”

Turner stated cocaine finds its solution to Australia vie a “chain of violence and exploitation”.

“Each time you employ it solely fuels this destruction and contours the pockets of organised crime,” he stated.

De Hesselle appeared earlier than Sydney central native courtroom on Friday and has been remanded in custody. He’ll subsequent face courtroom on 16 December.

A separate drug investigation has in the meantime resulted within the seizure of 117kg of methamphetamine hidden in a cargo of latex gloves and the arrest of a 43-year-old Sydney girl.

The consignment was additionally seized by US authorities earlier than being allowed to proceed its scheduled route, with Australian authorities awaiting its arrival in Sydney.

AFP and Border Drive officers performed a managed supply of the cargo to a enterprise tackle in Rydalmere earlier than conducting a search and arresting the Carlingford girl when she arrived to gather the medicine.

She was charged with one rely of making an attempt to import and considered one of making an attempt to own a business amount of border-controlled medicine.

She appeared earlier than Sydney central native courtroom on Friday and was refused bail to reappear on 19 October.