A Newcastle man accused of importing 230kg of methamphetamine - with an estimated street value of more than $143 million - has been refused bail.
Brent McLaughlin faced Sydney Central Court via video-link on Wednesday morning after his arrest over the massive alleged drug haul.
Magistrate Robert Williams adjourned the matter to June 9, when Mr McLaughlin is listed for bail review.
The 37-year-old was arrested on Saturday after a joint operation between investigators from Australian Federal Police, NSW Police, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian Border Force.
He was charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug - an offence that carries a maximum sentence of life in jail.
It came after the co-operating law enforcement agencies began investigating an Australian company that was importing helical gear drives - used in motor vehicles - in April.
Two shipments containing the gear drives from South Korea were intercepted and examined by Australian Border Force officers earlier this month, uncovering more than 200kg of the illegal drug.
Police allege that one shipment contained 140kg and the other held 90kg of methamphetamine - the drugs allegedly hidden inside the gear drives.
The drugs have an estimated street value of $143.75 million, Australian Federal Police said in a statement on Wednesday morning.
AFP Detective Acting Inspector Luke Wilson said police were using data analysis to expose companies allegedly taking part in illegal activities.
"This operation should send a strong warning to criminals that if you engage in illegal activities, the AFP will catch, arrest and prosecute you," he said.
NSW Police Drug and Firearms Squad commander Detective Superintendent John Watson said investigators were targeting alleged drug supply at all levels.
"The efforts of investigators have once again successfully disrupted what could [have] led to the large-scale supply of prohibited drugs across NSW and which have the potential to destroy lives and communities," he said.
ABF Superintendent Graeme Campbell said the seizure was a strong result of agencies working together.
"This is a clever concealment, with large quantities of dangerous drugs hidden behind a thick layer of steel," Superintendent Campbell said. "But the combination of information sharing with our partners, and the ABF's technical capabilities, ensured these harmful drugs did not end up on Australia's streets."
ACIC Executive Director of Intelligence Operations Matt Rippon said the recent National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Report estimated that $6.96 billion was spent on methamphetamine in Australia in a 12-month period.
"The drug is debilitating, it is destroying lives and the fabric of many communities in Australia," Mr Rippon said.
"This operation is a great result by Australian law enforcement. By continuously and relentlessly targeting key players, and collaborating with partners, we can dismantle these criminal networks and are continuing to focus on combating the supply side of the methamphetamine drug market."
IN NEWS TODAY:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to support us:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.