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September 20, 2017

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Taiwanese face lengthy jail time for Australian drug charges

SYDNEY -- Six Taiwanese men are facing life sentences after being charged with importing AU$42 million (US$39 million) worth of methamphetamine into Australia, authorities said Sunday.

The men were due to face a Sydney court on Sunday and could also receive fines of more than AU$1 million if convicted of importing 50 kilograms of the illegal drug, Australian Federal Police said in a statement.

Customs officials said they started their investigations when they inspected a consignment from China labeled as a "boiler" last month and found a "white crystalline substance" in it.

The substance was revealed after tests to be methamphetamine, police said.

The men, aged between 27 and 46, were arrested Saturday after they allegedly picked up the consignment in western Sydney and took its contents to a hotel.

They were charged with the importation and the attempted possession of a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

The federal police's crime operations manager Jennifer Hurst said the arrests should send a "strong signal to those wishing to import and distribute illicit drugs that it is not worth it."

Four Taiwanese nationals and one Australian were charged in February after police seized AU$180 million worth of methamphetamine stashed in a consignment of kayaks from China.

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