Federal police have seized what they say is an extraordinary amount of pure fentanyl in Melbourne, enough for more than 5 million lethal doses of the fast-acting and highly addictive opioid.
Acting AFP Commander Anthony Hall said on Monday that investigators discovered an illicit shipment containing 11.2 kilograms of pure fentanyl, what they estimate to be more than five million lethal doses, en route to Melbourne from Canada.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid used in limited circumstances to treat severe pain, is around 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and it is unusual to find it in such quantities in the Australian drug trade, police said.
Hall said the cargo arrived at the Port of Melbourne in December 2021. Officers inspected the industrial shipping container in February. The container also contained around 30 kilograms of methamphetamine inside, police said.
Australian Border Force Commander James Watson said the find was an “extraordinary” amount given that police typically only detect around one gram in other seizures.
“We were absolutely shocked by the magnitude of the detection and the audacity of the import attempt,” Watson said.
“I would describe it as a total act of bastardy, quite frankly. The impact of this on our community, if it had reached the streets… it’s not worth thinking about.
“Frankly, we have all been through COVID for the past few years; it’s hard enough as it is, not to mention seeing it… reaching our streets that we live on.