Three men – an Australian, a Singaporean and a Hong Kong passport holder – have been charged with attempting to possess the drug. In convicted, they will face life sentences.

Police were tipped off from a member of the public last year, and started a long-running investigation. Police and customs officers were directed to four suspect shipping containers in a Sydney wharf. They found the drugs inside and replaces it with a mock substance and allowed the containers to be delivered to their original address.

New South Wales police commissioner Andrew Scipione, said it was “very fortunate that somebody took the time to make that phone call”.

“This is the sort of drug that sends people mad,” he said.

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