TORONTO -- A dual French-Canadian citizen faces a possible life sentence for his part in the alleged import of nearly AUD$17 million worth (C$15 million) of methamphetamine from Mexico to Australia.

The 26-year-old man was charged after more than 150 kilograms of the controlled drug was found hidden inside a 19-tonne shipment of silver concentrate in Melbourne, Victoria, in January this year.

The accused, named as “A. Forcade” in court documents, was arrested by members of the Victorian Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF) in a suburb of Melbourne on Saturday night.

According to the Australian Federal Police, Forcade was remanded in to custody and was due to appear in court on Feb. 25. He was charged with importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, attempted possession of a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug and attempted trafficking of controlled drug.

The maximum penalty for these offences includes life imprisonment.

A 34-year-old Sydney man was also arrested Saturday in connection with the case and was due in court on Feb. 25. He was charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

JOCTF worked with partners in the Indian Narcotics Control Bureau to identify a suspicious shipping container arriving into Melbourne from Mexico on Jan. 23.

“Together, the JOCTF has prevented 154 kilograms of illicit drugs from reaching the community and causing considerable harm, while also simultaneously dismantling and disrupting the work of an organized crime syndicate,” said AFP acting assistant commissioner Bruce Giles.

Victoria Police Crime Command Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh said the arrests were a significant win for police and the Victorian public. 

“It also highlights the fact that drugs and organized crime are not just Victorian issues – they cross borders and we make no apology for targeting those who seek to bring that harm here,” she said.

The JOCTF is comprised of investigators from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), Victoria Police and Australian Crime Intelligence Commission (ACIC), along with members from the Department of Home Affairs.