AFP-led Operation Ironside smashes organised crime in 2021

Op IRONSIDE

Editor’s note:  Vision of Operation Ironside Phase 1 investigations are available on Hightail.

The AFP is today releasing the updated alleged offender count for Operation Ironside, the biggest crime operation in the agency’s 40 year history.

To date, 340 alleged offenders have been charged with 1011 offences. More than 6.3 tonnes of drugs have been seized, along with 141 weapons.

In NSW, 89 alleged offenders have been charged with 279 offences. More than 1.8 tonnes of drugs have been seized, along with 48 weapons.

In South Australia, 113 alleged offenders have been charged with 300 offences. More than 2.2 tonnes of drugs have been seized, along with 16 weapons.

In Victoria, 58 alleged offenders have been charged with 174 offences. More than 1.1 tonnes of drugs have been seized, along with 38 weapons.

In Queensland, 47 alleged offenders have been charged with 209 offences. More than 980 kgs of drugs have been seized, along with 15 weapons.

In Western Australia, 33 alleged offenders have been charged with 49 offences. More than 70 kgs of drugs have been seized, along with 24 weapons.

Operation Ironside was a three-year, covert, AFP-led investigation into significant organised crime syndicates that were using dedicated encrypted communications device, named AN0M, to traffic illicit drugs and weapons to Australia, as well as order local executions.

The global sting was enabled by the AFP and FBI. The FBI secretly controlled AN0M, which was distributed and used only by transnational serious organised crime, or those facilitating crime for them. AFP technical expertise allowed law enforcement to obtain and read the encrypted messages in real time.

On June 8, 2021, Operation Ironside, launched hundreds of search warrants across Australia. More than 4000 Australian law enforcement officers and members were involved in the overt action.

Transnational serious organised crime, which includes outlaw motorcycle groups, Italian organised crime and criminals with links to Asian triads, were targeted under Operation Ironside.

On 9 December, 2021, the AFP revealed it would launch Operation Ironside Phase 2 under a nationally-coordinated strike against organised crime.

The AFP and state law enforcement agencies will begin the protracted offensive, which is likely to run for months, and will focus on arrests plus the disruption of criminals’ business operations.

Up to 160 targets around Australia have been identified under Operation Ironside Phase 2.

Those targets include outlaw motorcycle gangs, Italian organised crime, illicit drug distributors and trusted insiders.

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