Media Release: Australian and Japanese authorities dismantle international drug syndicate

Release Date: Saturday, December 22 2012, 06:37 PM

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has charged a 44-year-old Forrest Lake man with drug offences, following a joint investigation between the AFP, Japan Customs, Narcotics Control Department of Japan and the Police Narcotics Investigation Department of Vietnam.

In addition, five people have been arrested by the Narcotics Control Department for narcotic importation offences in Japan.

The investigation began in August 2011 when the AFP received information that an international organised crime syndicate planned to import a large amount of methamphetamine (ice) into Australia and Japan. 

Investigations were conducted with the assistance of law enforcement agencies in the United States, Japan, The Netherlands and Vietnam and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

On 3 December 2012, a consignment of heavy machinery arrived in Japan, and a search by authorities located approximately 110 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed inside a road roller.

On 21 December 2012, the Japanese Narcotics Control Department arrested 5 people.

On 22 December 2012, the AFP executed five search warrants in Brisbane (Wacol, Forest Lake, Sunny Bank, Stockleigh and Jamboree Heights) and four in Sydney (Prestons, Austral and Green Valley), seizing a number of evidentiary items.

A 44-year-old Forrest Lake man was subsequently arrested in Brisbane and charged for his involvement in the importation of narcotics and is due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on 24 December 2012.

Manager Serious and Organised Crime Acting Commander Matt Rippon said the AFP will continue to work with its international counterparts to apprehend those responsible for importing drugs into Australia.

“The AFP is leading the fight against this type of crime. We maintain liaison officers in 28 countries, who work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners overseas on a broad range of transnational crime types,” Commander Rippon said.

“The success of this operation could not have been achieved without the excellent cooperation and valued relationship with the Vietnamese, Japanese and Dutch authorities”.

The man was charged with the following offences:

• 2 counts of Trafficking commercial quantities of controlled drugs contrary to Section 302.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cwth); and
• 1 count of Dealing in proceeds of crime — money or property worth $100,000 or more contrary to Section 400.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cwth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment and/or $850,000 fine.

Investigations in Australia and overseas are continuing.


Media enquiries:
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333

Note to media: Enquiries relating to the overseas arrests should be directed to the Japanese authorities. Photographs are available from AFP National Media on request.