26 September 2023

Agencies’ put joint project on top of drugs

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A joint project between the Australian Federal Police, Western Australia Police Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian Border Force has led to a NSW man and German national with suspected links to organised crime to be charged allegedly importing 320kg of cocaine into Australia.

The multi-agency investigation led to the arrest of the men, aged 37 and 49, in Western Australia’s Port Hedland last week.

According to the police, the older man was arrested in a campervan where investigators allegedly found illicit drugs worth at least $128 million.

They said the 320 blocks they seized weighed a kilogram each.

Acting Assistant Commissioner at the AFP, John Tanti said the outcomes should send a strong message to organised crime groups looking to import drugs into Australia.

“Australia is no safe haven for criminals. We are coming after you and we will not stop,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Tanti said.

“This amount of cocaine could have been sold to about 320,000 Australians as if broken down into 1g street level deals and put about $128 million into the pockets of the criminals involved in its distribution” he said.

“Australian law enforcement and our partners continue to successfully disrupt transnational crime, and the AFP will continue to collaborate with agencies overseas to investigate and disrupt the supply of illicit drugs from around the world into Australia.

Acting Commissioner at the WA Police Force, Col Blanch said the weekend seizure was further evidence that law enforcement agencies worked closely together to make Western Australia unwelcome to drug traffickers.

“Illicit drugs cause immense harm in our community and WA Police Force will use every policing capability at its disposal to target the drug traffickers who seek to profit from the misery of others,” Acting Commissioner Blanch said.

“Our specialist officers targeted this specific importation from the land, the sea and the air, and the hunt is not over yet – we will continue to pursue anyone linked to this syndicate or indeed any other drug trafficking organisation no matter where they hide across the world.”

Commander with the Australian Border Force, James Copeman said the ABF maintained a strong presence along the Western Australian coast and offshore to contribute to a multi-layered, multi-agency approach to border protection.

“Our highly trained officers use a range of enforcement capabilities, information sharing and intelligence with our partners, while our aerial, maritime and land surveillance help protect the Australian community by disrupting those seeking to import illicit drugs,” Commander Copeman said.

National Manager. South Operations of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Damien Appleby said the ACIC worked tirelessly with partners to make Australia a hostile place for criminal syndicates and to combat the supply of these dangerous drugs.

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