$7 Million Worth of Meth Accidentally Delivered to Elderly Australian Couple

By Jane Werrell

An elderly Australian couple has received a package full of methamphetamine that was meant for someone else.

Police say that the package of the drug, also known as ice, has an estimated street value of AU$10 million ($7 million).

The couple, who live in Melbourne, Australia, were not aware “of the significance of their find,” 7News reported.

After opening the package and discovering bags of white substance on May 1, the couple immediately contacted the police.

“They asked each other if they had ordered anything, and it was quite clear that they hadn’t,” said Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Matthew Kershaw, according to CNN.

He said it was “quite incredible to comprehend that someone could be that sloppy.”

‘A Large Find’

A 21-year-old man was charged with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, local police said.

Zhiling Ma appeared in a Melbourne court on Thursday.

“It’s quite a large find to take off the streets, really,” Kershaw said. “That’s 800,000 hits off the street that we’ve intercepted yesterday which is quite significant.”

Police think the package contained about 20 kg (44 lbs) of the drug. It led police to investigate another address nearby, where a further 20 kg of the drug was discovered.

Kershaw said that the elderly couple didn’t realize the significance of their find.

“We’re ensuring them they’ve done absolutely nothing wrong and their welfare is paramount,” he said.

Meth in Australia

A study published in 2017 reported the number of meth-related deaths in Australia doubled between 2009 and 2015.

Professor Shane Darke from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center examined 1,649 fatalities linked to the drug, and found a fifth of those were attributed to “natural” diseases, such as strokes and cardiac arrest.

He said the findings indicate “a major methamphetamine problem.”

“Many users may be unaware that heart disease is a major factor in methamphetamine-related death,” he said.

His study found that nearly half of the deaths were in rural and regional locations. Forty-three percent of people died by an accidental overdose. There were also deaths from suicide and car accidents.

“The impulsivity and disinhibition associated with methamphetamine intoxication may be a factor,” he said.

A 2016 survey found that 6.3 percent or 1.3 million Australians over the age of 14 had used meth, including ice, speed, or base.

Effects

According to the National Institute of Druge Abuse, meth can, in the short term, cause increased wakefulness and physical activity, decreased appetite, faster breathing, rapid and/or irregular heartbeat, and increased blood pressure and body temperature.

Apart from an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C, the website lists the following long term effects: Extreme weight loss, severe dental problems, intense itching leading to skin sores from scratching, anxiety, confusion, sleeping problems, violent behavior, paranoia (extreme and unreasonable distrust of others), and hallucinations (sensations and images that seem real though they aren’t.)

In the United States, official statistics from 2018 found about 0.7 percent of 13- to 14-year-olds have tried meth.

More than 71,500 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2017, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.