Media Release: Four men charged in Australia for alleged international people smuggling syndicate

Release Date: Tuesday, March 27 2012, 04:00 PM

An Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation has disrupted an international people smuggling syndicate with the arrest of four Australian-based alleged facilitators in Melbourne and Sydney.

A 37-year-old man and a 32-year-old man, both from Sydney, a 42-year-old man and a 19-year-old man, both from Melbourne, have been charged with people smuggling offences.

The Melbourne based men will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today. The 37-year-old Sydney man will appear in Central Local Court today. The second Sydney man will appear in Central Local Court on 28 March 2012.

International law enforcement partners in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand have worked closely with the AFP in relation to this operation. One person in Thailand has been arrested. Enquiries are continuing in Australia and internationally.

It will be alleged that Australian based targets of this operation were key organisers and facilitators of a people smuggling syndicate responsible for planning and facilitating the unlawful arrival of numerous people to Australia.

The arrests are the culmination of an eight month investigation by the AFP’s People Smuggling Strike Team, which today resulted in the execution of four search warrants in Sydney and three in Melbourne.

AFP Manager Operations Crime Operations Jennifer Hurst said the AFP remained committed to working with Australian and overseas partner agencies to combat all facets of people smuggling.

“Today’s arrests are an example of the AFP’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting those involved in organising people smuggling ventures to Australia,” Commander Hurst said.

“The organisers of these ventures are taking advantage of vulnerable people and are putting their lives at risk.”

The men arrested in Australia have been charged with offences including:

  • Aggravated people smuggling contrary to s.233C of the Migration Act 1958; and
  • Organising or facilitating the bringing or coming to Australia, or the entry or proposed entry into Australia, of another person contrary to s.233A of the Migration Act 1958.

The maximum penalty for these offences is 20 years imprisonment.

Commander Hurst encourages members of the community who may have information about people smuggling activities in Australia to report it to the AFP on 1800 813 784, or via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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