Australian police make $900M methamphetamine bust

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Meth Found Hidden in Bra Inserts

SYDNEY (Reuters) -- Australian authorities said on Monday they had seized A$1.25 billion ($890.5 million) worth of liquid methamphetamine, or "ice," their largest haul of illicit drugs in two years.

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Four Chinese nationals, three of them from Hong Kong, have been charged over their alleged role in the importation and manufacture of 720 liters of the drug, which were hidden inside gel bra inserts and art supplies.

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Australian Police Seize $900 Million in Methylamphetamine, crystal meth
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Australian police make $900M methamphetamine bust
Journalists examine a haul of crystal methamphetamine concealed in packaging at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Sydney on February 15, 2016. Australian police have seized more than 712 million USD in crystal methamphetamine, or ice, some concealed in gel bra inserts in one of the country's biggest drug busts. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan (C) examines product packaging containing concealed crystal methamphetamine with Australian Federal Police State Manager NSW Commander Chris Sheehan (L) and Australian Border Force Regional Commander NSW Tim Fitzgerald (R) at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Sydney on February 15, 2016. Australian police have seized more than 712 million USD in crystal methamphetamine, or ice, some concealed in gel bra inserts in one of the country's biggest drug busts. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Border Police officers stand next to a haul of crystal methamphetamine concealed in packaging at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Sydney on February 15, 2016. Australian police have seized more than 712 million USD in crystal methamphetamine, or ice, some concealed in gel bra inserts in one of the country's biggest drug busts. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Gel bra inserts (foreground L) containing concealed crystal methamphetamine is seen at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Sydney on February 15, 2016. Australian police have seized more than 712 million USD in crystal methamphetamine, or ice, some concealed in gel bra inserts in one of the country's biggest drug busts. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan (L) examines gel bra inserts containing concealed crystal methamphetamine with Australian Federal Police State Manager NSW Commander Chris Sheehan (2nd L) and Australian Border Force Regional Commander NSW Tim Fitzgerald (C) at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Sydney on February 15, 2016. Australian police have seized more than 712 million USD in crystal methamphetamine, or ice, some concealed in gel bra inserts in one of the country's biggest drug busts. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Border Police officers stand next to a haul of crystal methamphetamine concealed in packaging at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Sydney on February 15, 2016. Australian police have seized more than 712 million USD in crystal methamphetamine, or ice, some concealed in gel bra inserts in one of the country's biggest drug busts. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN / AFP / SAEED KHAN (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Commander Chris Sheehan from the Australian Federal Police stands by a display of confiscated drugs in Sydney, Monday, Jan. 15, 2016. Australian police said they had seized 720 liters (190 gallons) of the illicit drug methylamphetamine worth more than 1 billion Australian dollars ($700 million). (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
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The drugs were seized at several locations in Sydney, including a shipping container sent from Hong Kong, authorities said.

"This is the largest seizure of liquid methamphetamine in Australia's history and one of the largest drug seizures in our country's history," Justice Minister Michael Keenan told reporters in Sydney.

He said the seizure was the result of a joint investigation between Australian authorities and the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission.

The Australian government declared a crystal methamphetamine "epidemic" last year and launched a national taskforce to tackle the drug.

Around 2.1 percent of Australians used methamphetamines or amphetamine drugs in the 2014, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, among the highest rates of illicit drug usage in the world.

China is the world's largest manufacturer of the chemical precursors necessary to make licit and illicit drugs, according to the UN office on Drugs and Crime. It also struggles with high addiction rates, with 14 million drug addicts in 2014, according to the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission. ($1 = 1.4037 Australian dollars)

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