Media Release: Five arrested in Australia’s largest people smuggling strike

Release Date: Thursday, August 29 2013, 10:53 AM

A targeted Australian Federal Police (AFP) operation, known as Operation Delphinium has resulted in the arrest of five men across Australia today in relation to seven people smuggling investigations.

In a strategic strike, the AFP executed a number of search warrants in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.

It will be alleged that the men arrested were responsible for a range of people smuggling activities and were key members of people smuggling syndicates involved in the planning or facilitation of up to 132 Suspected Illegal Entry Vessels (SIEVs) bound for Australia.

A 21-year-old Iranian national, a 36-year-old Pakistani national and three Afghan nationals aged 40, 34 and 33 have been charged with people smuggling offences.

The men are expected to appear in courts in South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales today.

The arrests are the culmination of 12 months of high-tempo operational activity targeting people smuggling organisers with domestic and international links.

AFP National Manager Crime Operations Steve Lancaster said the aim of Operation Delphinium was to strategically target and disrupt people smuggling organisers and facilitators.

“This operation against people smugglers is a prime example of the AFP’s commitment to disrupt and deter organised people smuggling syndicates in Australia and offshore,” Assistant Commissioner Lancaster said.

Assistant Commissioner Lancaster said that the cooperation of witnesses was critical to the success of this operation. More than 200 members of the community assisted police by providing information leading to today’s arrests.

“These arrests bring the total number of alleged people smuggling organisers charged by the AFP in Australia to 26.”

The men have been charged with offences including:

- 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.

- Providing false details contrary to s.234 (1) (a) of the Migration Act 1958.

The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years imprisonment and/or $110,000 fine.

Enquiries are continuing in Australia and internationally, and further arrests are expected.

The AFP encourages members of the community who may have information about people smuggling activities in Australia to report it to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or online at https://crimestoppers.com.au.

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media Team
Phone:(02) 6131 6333