The AFP sets sight on wanted fugitives with new strike team launch

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Forty-three offshore fugitives wanted by Australian authorities will be targeted by an Australian Federal Police strike team.

The Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team – FAST – is targeting offenders who are the subject of arrest warrants for murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking, money laundering and serious fraud.

FAST is working with domestic and international law enforcement partners to help arrest and extradite offenders to Australia. A significant focus is also helping states and territories identify offenders living undetected in Australia.

The team of specialist investigators and intelligence analysts will also support requests from other countries and agencies, like INTERPOL, to identify suspected fugitives who may have fled to Australia.

It is the first time FAST has been publicly revealed by the AFP. The strike team began in February 2021 and already has had some success. Those matters are engaged in the legal process and no further comment will be made.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said FAST was the AFP's next investment in its global reach to disrupt serious and organised crime.

"A number of serious criminals have fled Australia and believe they are no longer within the reach of the AFP,'' Commissioner Kershaw said.

"However, they are mistaken. Few agencies have offshore capabilities like that of the AFP. Our international reach is extraordinary.

"AFP personnel are posted in 33 countries. Our partnerships, respect and trust with domestic and international agencies mean we work collaboratively to disrupt serious criminal syndicates.

"My message to offenders who have fled Australia, or are offshore and targeting Australians, is clear: You are within our reach and the AFP will be relentless in bringing you to justice."

FAST aims to make it easier for police across multiple jurisdictions to jointly investigate criminals who have fled the law, share operational intelligence, and strengthen cooperation to conduct complex and cross-border investigations.

"We will be working closely with our international, Commonwealth and state and territory partners – leveraging the specialist capabilities, intelligence and operations of the AFP and our partners - to hunt down these serious criminals who are hiding here in Australia and those suspected Australian criminals who have fled offshore,'' Commissioner Kershaw said.

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