Police Swoop In On Illegal Baby Formula Syndicate
Victoria Police have uncovered an organised baby formula syndicate in Melbourne's west that had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of formula tins with the intention of illegally selling them overseas.
A month-long investigation came to an end yesterday afternoon as police raided six separate properties in Sunshine, Sunshine West, Braybrook and Richmond.
In addition to the $300,000 worth of Aptamil baby formula police seized Swisse liver detox supplements, Lucas' Pawpaw ointment and $500,000 cash.
Detective Sergeant Mark Anderson has said that the baby formula syndicate was an inside operation with an "organised element" and officers were tipped off when a number of companies started noticing that some of their inventory was missing.
"This has been one of a number of search warrants that have been executed over the past 12 months and we've found through our investigation that some of the products are going overseas and some are going interstate," said Detective Sergeant Anderson.
"We seized a number of cans of baby formula, a number of Olay-type face creams, pawpaw ointments - just your general items you can buy at supermarkets along with some perfume type products."
Seven people were arrested by Maribyrnong Crime Investigation Unit detectives and several of these people were already known to police.
Three of those arrested have been released while the remaining four are still in custody assisting police with their investigation.
Australia's baby formula has become a popular product sold on the black market overseas due to our reputation for having clean and high-quality formulas.
This was particularly exacerbated in 2008 in China when six babies died and thousands of others became sick after consuming contaminated Chinese-made baby formula.
Baby formula tins which can be purchased in Australia for $30 are sold in excess of $100 overseas.