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Authorities seize record-setting 1.7 tons of meth worth $1.29 billion at Los Angeles port

Posted at 2:57 PM, Feb 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-09 10:53:03-05

LOS ANGELES, CA — A joint drug bust between Australian and U.S. authorities in mid-January resulted in a record 1.7 tons of methamphetamine being seized at Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.

Customs and Border Protection announced the seizure of the three containers on Thursday, which were intended to be shipped to Australia before being searched on Jan. 11. The containers were filled with speakers "artfully" stuffed with the drugs.

In addition to the 3,810 pounds of meth, the shipment also contained 55.9 pounds of cocaine and 11.5 pounds of heroin. Australian officials said the total street value of the haul was $1.29 billion.

"There's no question that the criminal organization behind this scheme has been dealt a significant blow," Joseph Macias, special agent-in-charge for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles, said in a statement. "Along with our law enforcement partners here and around the world, we continue in a day-to-day battle against the blight of methamphetamine that continues to devastate our communities. Through a collaborative effort -- pooling our information, resources and expertise -- we are keeping this dangerous contraband from reaching our streets and potentially saving lives."

The bust was the largest amount of methamphetamine ever seized in the United States, according to police.

Authorities said six people have been arrested in the scheme -- two Americans and four Australians. The Americans were identified by Australian police as a 52-year-old man and 46-year-old woman living in Woodstock, Victoria.

Australian Federal Police evidently found the seizure to be worthy of memorializing via pun. They asked commenters on their Facebook page to, "Help us celebrate and post your best ice puns below."

The bust is the third major seizure announced by U.S. authorities in a matter of weeks.

CBP announced the largest-ever fentanyl bust on Jan. 31. Authorities seized 254 pounds of fentanyl worth about $3.5 million at the Nogales Port of Entry in Arizona.

Just two days later, the Maricopa, Arizona, County Sheriff's Office announced they had seized 3,500 pounds of marijuana and over 220 pounds of meth near Gila Bend when two trucks swerved around a border patrol check and tried to elude authorities in a desert chase.