Charges laid for links to drug importation syndicate

Charges laid for cocaine importation

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force

One of two men arrested for their alleged involvement with an international cocaine trafficking network will face Sydney Central Local Court today following a 12-month Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation.

A 30-year-old man from the NSW Central Coast was arrested in the Newcastle suburb of Adamstown on Monday, 12 September 2016. Police will allege that he was attempting to take possession of a 16 kilogram shipment of cocaine from the United States. He appeared in a Newcastle court on Tuesday.

A 31-year-old Potts Point man was arrested near his house later on Monday afternoon for his alleged role in arranging the importation. A subsequent search warrant executed on his home resulted in the seizure of $30,000 cash. He is scheduled to face Sydney Central Local Court this morning.

The impending shipment of 16 kilograms of cocaine was identified by the AFP during the course of its investigation and intercepted by the Australian Border Force (ABF) on 11 September 2016.

The investigation began on 3 August 2015, when ABF officers detected an 8.4 kilogram package of cocaine sent from the United States. A second package containing 15 kilograms of cocaine linked to the investigation was detected by the ABF on 23 May 2016.

A Brisbane man was charged on Friday, 2 September 2016, with importing 23.4 kilograms of cocaine through air cargo in relation to the intercepted consignments. He is next scheduled to appear before Sydney Central Local Court on 26 October 2016.

AFP Commander Crime Operations Paul Osborne praised the persistence of investigators in preventing a significant amount of drugs from reaching Australian streets.

“Police have struck a significant blow against a network that had the resources and contacts to arrange the importation of almost 40 kilograms of cocaine,” Commander Osborne said.

“Our investigators will continue to liaise with state and international law enforcement partners in regard to potential links this syndicate may have to their ongoing investigations.”

ABF Regional Commander NSW, Tim Fitzgerald, said the detections highlight the tireless work ABF officers undertake to ensure illicit substances do not reach their intended destination.

“This investigation started as a result of an interception by ABF officers of an air cargo consignment containing 8.4 kilograms of cocaine,” Regional Commander Fitzgerald said.

“This and the two subsequent detections reinforce our message that drugs will be detected by the ABF and referred to our law enforcement partners for investigation.”

The Potts Point man was charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1 (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment. He was also charged with money laundering offences.

The Central Coast man was charged with attempt to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) by virtue of section 11.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

The Brisbane man was charged with two counts of importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1 (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

**NOTE: Images are available by contacting AFP National Media

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