Two men given lengthy jail terms in Australia for 'world's largest' ecstasy haul

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Two men were handed lengthy jail terms in Australia on Friday for their part in the "world's largest" ecstasy seizure where police found 4.4 tonnes of tablets hidden in tomato cans.

Carmelo Falanga and Jan Visser were sentenced to 23 years and 11 years respectively for their involvement in importing millions of ecstasy tablets into Melbourne from Naples.

"The money that was potentially to be made was unbelievable, beyond even the comprehension of most ordinary people," Justice Betty King said in Victoria state's Supreme Court, The Age newspaper reported.

"Each of you, like your co-offenders, were involved so that you could make a quick and large amount of money, without having to work for it like other ordinary members of our society.

"You were willing to exploit and put at risk the youth of our country for personal greed," Justice King said.

Australian authorities said they spent more than a year tracking the syndicate behind the drugs after customs officials discovered the ecstasy hidden inside some 3,000 tins in June 2007. At the time, police said it was the "world's single largest seizure" of ecstasy with a street value of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Australian Federal Police announced the arrests of 21 people linked to the scam in August 2008. Several other men have been jailed over the bust.

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