NEW South Wales Customs officers have found 45kg of precursor drugs hidden in a range of items, including artificial flower arrangements and a blow-up air bed.
The drugs - 5kg of ContacNT and 40kg of ephedrine - were detected last week in 16 separate consignments from India, China, Hong Kong and Ireland and were found concealed in steering wheel locks, a fax machine, bolt cutters, cling wrap, a stainless steel trolley, trowels, paint scrapers, vacuum cylinders, water filters and a wok.
ContacNT is a cold and flu medication, which contains high levels of pseudoephedrine and can be legally purchased in some countries.
Ephedrine is a precursor drug used to manufacture amphetamine-type substances, such as methamphetamine or "ice".
Jagtej Singh, Customs' national manager cargo operations, said: "Criminals are continuing to find new ways to conceal drugs in an attempt to avoid detection at the border.
"The service does not tolerate the illegal importation of dangerous precursors. Those caught attempting to smuggle them into Australia could face heavy penalties, such as fines and gaol time."
Anyone caught importing precursor drugs such as ContacNT, ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, face a fine of up to $510,000 and/or 15 years in prison.