Israeli national extradited to Australia to face court on drug charges

Editor's Note:

A 50-year-old Israeli national accused of being involved in a conspiracy to import 200 kilograms of cocaine into Australia will face Brisbane Magistrate's Court this month (November 2021) after being extradited from the Philippines.

Australian Federal Police officers, with assistance from Philippine authorities, including the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines, extradited the man from Manila to Brisbane on 24 October 2021 as part of Operation PIRUM.

The man – who is alleged to be part of an Israeli Organised Crime syndicate – is now completing mandatory quarantine before facing court in Brisbane next week (9 November 2021), where an application will be made to extradite him to Sydney to stand trial.

He will face charges including conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, conspiracy to traffic a commercial quantity of a controlled drug and conspiracy to deal in the proceeds of crime exceeding $1,000,000.

If found guilty, the maximum penalty for these offences can include life imprisonment.

Police will allege the man was part of a syndicate that imported border controlled drugs into Australia, including a conspiracy to import a 200 kilogram shipment of cocaine in 2010.

In November 2010, the AFP executed more than 20 search warrants in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria as part of Op PIRUM, an extensive investigation into alleged drug trafficking by the syndicate.

Two men were arrested for their roles in the alleged importation of the cocaine.

In July 2016, a 56-year-old man was sentenced in the Sydney Supreme Court to eight years' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of four years and six months, for his involvement with the importation.

In September 2017, a 69-year-old man was sentenced to seven years and two months' imprisonment, with a non-parole period of three years and six months, for his involvement in the same importation by the syndicate.

An arrest warrant was issued by Australian authorities for the Israeli national in October 2013, who was based overseas when he was allegedly involved in the importation.

The arrest and charging of the 50-year-old is only the second time in 32 years that a person has been extradited from the Philippines to Australia to face criminal charges.

AFP Northern Command Detective Acting Superintendent Ben Moses said the persistent work of investigators spanning several years leading to this arrest should serve as a serious warning to criminals who attempt to operate overseas in the hope of avoiding Australian law enforcement.

"The Australian Federal Police has an international network of partners that are committed to pursuing these offenders and bringing them to justice. If you commit an offence, there is nowhere to hide, and the AFP will track you down," he said.

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