Media Release: Further five people arrested in major corruption and drug importation investigation

Release Date: Tuesday, February 12 2013, 04:11 PM

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) continues to dismantle an organised crime syndicate allegedly importing narcotics through Sydney International Airport with an additional five arrests in Sydney today, including a further two Australian Customs and Border Protection officials, as part of a major two-year multi-agency investigation.

A 40-year-old Kingsgrove man, a 38-year-old Blacktown man, a 29-year-old Petersham man, a 30-year-old Earlwood man, and a 35-year-old Oxley Park man were arrested today (12 February).  All men are scheduled to appear in court at a later stage.

A total of 15 search warrants were executed across Sydney today at the Sydney International Airport and suburbs including Kingsgrove, Blacktown, Petersham, Earlwood, Oxley Park and Marrickville.

Operation Marca/Heritage is an ongoing joint investigation involving the AFP, ACLEI and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. The operation focuses on drug importation involving an organised crime syndicate and corrupt commonwealth officials.

The AFP has also linked two previous arrests of two men in June 2012 to this operation, alleged to have been involved in the importation of 40 kilograms of pseudoephedrine into Australia from Vietnam.

These arrests bring the total number of people arrested as part Operation Marca/Heritage to 17, including five commonwealth officials. The AFP arrested eight people in 2012, including three Commonwealth officials, who were charged with a range of corruption and drug importation related offences. A further two people were arrested last month.

It will be alleged in court that the 40-year-old Kingsgrove man and the 38-year-old Blacktown man facilitated narcotics importations while working as officers for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service at Sydney Airport.

The men have been charged with a range of offences including:

  • Abuse of public office contrary to section 142.2(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995
  • Bribery of a commonwealth public official contrary to subsection 141.1(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995
  • Conspiracy to import commercial quantity of border controlled precursors namely pseudoephedrine, contrary to subsection 307.11 by virtue of section 11.5 of the Criminal Code 1995
  • Dealing in the proceeds of crime, money worth $100,000 or more, contrary to section 400.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

AFP Commissioner Tony Negus said these additional arrests were a testament to the AFP’s commitment to working with ACLEI to target corruption. 

“The AFP and ACLEI will continue to dismantle this organised crime syndicate and pursue its network across the full continuum of their activity,” Commissioner Negus said.

“The AFP and ACLEI’s investigation remains ongoing and with our combined resources, further arrests are expected.”

Media enquiries:
AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333

Previous media releases
Media Release: Additional arrests in major drug importation and corruption investigation
http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/news/afp/2013/january/media-release-additional-arrests-in-major-drug-importation-and-corruption-investigation.aspx

Media Release: Customs officer arrested over drug importations
http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/news/afp/2012/december/customs-officer-arrested-over-drug-importations.aspx

Media Release: AQIS official arrested over corruption
http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/news/afp/2012/december/aqis-official-arrested-over-corruption.aspx