Workers in Australia stumbled across $31.5 million of crystal meth while they were fixing a toilet, according to police.
New South Wales authorities were alerted to reports of a crystal substance and bags of cash after workers discovered them while fixing a toilet pipe in Canterbury, a Sydney suburb, on July 9, 2021.
Police later confirmed the workers had uncovered 1.1 million Australian dollars ($787,715) in cash and 485 pounds of crystal meth, with an estimated street value of $31.5 million.
The drugs industry in Australia is a lucrative operation for criminals with an estimated 9 million (43 percent of the population) people aged 14 and over having illicitly used a drug at some point in their lifetime and about 3.4 million (16.4 percent) having used an illicit drug in the last 12 months, according to the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.
New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF) said in a Facebook post on Wednesday: “Officers from Burwood Police Area Command declared a crime scene and specialist forensic officers examined the unit and a locked garage beneath the complex.
“During a subsequent search, officers located and seized 15 cardboard boxes containing almost 220 kilograms [485 pounds] of crystal methamphetamine (ice) with an estimated potential street value of AU$44 million.
“Other illicit drugs located during the search were MDMA (95 grams [3.3 ounces]) and cocaine (35g [1.2 ounces]), along with chemicals consistent with the manufacture of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GBH), gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and ice.”
On Wednesday, police launched an appeal for information in a bid to learn more about what happened.
In CCTV footage released by the NSWPF, a man can be seen walking along Minter Street at about 8:10 p.m. on July 9, 2021. Detectives believe the man can help them with their investigation.
He is described as being of Asian appearance, about 5-foot 5-inches tall, thin, aged between 25 and 30, and with short black hair.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact Strike Force Joylyn investigators and is also urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
Information sent to the team is treated as confidential and the police reminded people not to report anything to the NSWPF social media pages.
Newsweek has contacted the NSWPF for comment.
An estimated 32 million people in the U.S. were actively using drugs as of 2021, according to National Center of Drug Abuse Statistics figures cited by Kolmac Outpatient Recovery, an organization that assists people with drug and alcohol addiction.
The most common drugs of choice include marijuana, prescription stimulants and methamphetamines.
In January, officers with the California Highway Patrol reported the largest fentanyl bust in the history of Central Valley, thanks in part to “Beny” a K9 Belgian Malinois.
In a Facebook post published by the agency, a driver was pulled over for speeding. While speaking with the driver and the passenger, the officer noticed “several factors and tradecraft” that led him to believe the pair were “engaged in criminal activity.”
The post later said: “CHP K9 ‘Beny’ was asked to sniff the exterior of the Volkswagen and alerted to the odor of narcotics. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed approximately 75 pounds of counterfeit Oxycodone pills believed to contain fentanyl.”