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$200m meth shipment smuggled in as 'carpet stain cleaner,' court told


Mark Russell

A Canadian citizen was involved in trying to smuggle into Australia more than 130 kilograms of methamphetamine worth more than $200 million hidden in bottles marked "carpet stain cleaner," a court has heard.

Ua Iv "Johnny" Lim, 32, has pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court to attempting to possess a commercial quantity of drugs on April 9 last year at a warehouse in Clayton south.

‘‘What you're dealing with here is quite clearly a major drug enterprise and we are dealing with drugs of a value, on one view, of over $200 million. High risk, high stakes,’’ Crown prosecutor Daniel Gurvich told the jury in his closing address.

He said a shipping container from China carrying the drugs had arrived in Melbourne on Good Friday, March 29, 2013.

The shipper was recorded as Zhuhai City Wanhui Trade Development Company Limited with a Chinese address, and the goods inside the container were described as commercial cleaning supplies.

The shipping container held 833 cardboard boxes with some Chinese writing on one side as well as some English writing, which said "carpet stain cleaner". 

Inside each box were four one-gallon (3.8-litre) white plastic bottles labelled "Charles Barnes Cleaning Chemical Product, Carpet Stain Cleaner."

The prosecutor said 96 bottles were found to contain methamphetamine with the purity ranging from 34 to 39 per cent. The total weight of pure amphetamine came to about 133 kilograms.

Immigration records confirmed that Mr Lim was a Canadian national who had travelled into and out of Australia between 2012 and 2013.

Mr Gurvich said the bottles containing the drugs were intercepted by Customs officers,who replaced them with bottles of carpet cleaner from the same consignment.

The other bottles which had been removed were then replaced with milk bottles filled with water.

The container was repacked and later delivered to a warehouse in Clayton South, where Mr Lim was arrested.

Defence barrister Scott Johns said the key issue at Mr Lim’s trial was, to put it simply, knowledge.

Mr Lim admitted being at the warehouse and unpacking the goods but claimed not to have known there were drugs inside.

‘‘He was labelling them - nothing unusual about that, nothing sinister about that,’’ Mr Johns said.

‘‘He believed they contained cleaning products and cleaning products only ... He had no knowledge drugs or illicit substances were inside.’’

Mr Johns said there was no admission or intercepted phone call that clearly proved Mr Lim knew about the drugs.

The trial, before Justice Karin Emerton, continues.

HuffPost Australia

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