Man returns from Serbia to face court over 1.28-tonne cocaine seizure

A 43-year-old NSW man is scheduled to appear before Sydney Central Local Court today (Wednesday, 21 March) to face charges relating to his alleged role in a large scale drug importation into Australia.

The man was detained in Serbia on 16 January 2018 by local authorities, and was extradited from Belgrade, arriving into Sydney this morning.

Operation Amorgos is an AFP-led investigation commencing in April 2017, targeting an organised crime syndicate believed to be responsible for the importation of 1.28 tonnes of cocaine in Sydney, concealed within pre-fabricated steel.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) officers intercepted and examined the container, revealing 2576 individual blocks of cocaine with an estimated street value up to $500 million.

 The AFP alleges the 43-year-old man used links he had to overseas business to facilitate the importation of 1.28 tonnes of cocaine concealed in steel posts.

He is due in court today to appear to face a range of charges, including:

  • Import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs – contrary to Section 307.1 - Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Conspire to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs – contrary to Section 307.1 and 11.5(1) - Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Conspire to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs – contrary to Section 307.5 and 11.5(1) - Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Attempt to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs – contrary to Section 307.1, and 11.1(1) - Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Attempt to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs- contrary to Section 307.5, and 11.1(1) - Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

The extradition process has involved the extensive work of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

AFP Detective Superintendent Stephen Dametto, Coordinator Organised Crime and Cyber, thanked all agencies, both in Australia and internationally, for their work together to secure this outcome.

“We’ve been alive to the fact that crime does not respect borders, and we know that crippling these syndicates is not something that can be done alone,” Detective Superintendent Dametto said.

“As organised crime groups push further offshore, the AFP and our international network follows. When agencies work together, the net of law enforcement grows wider and alleged organised crime figures soon realise they cannot be out of reach of Australian law enforcement.”

ABF Superintendent Maritime & Detained Goods NSW, Tony McSweeney, said it is very satisfying to see ABF’s work on the ground contribute to such a large seizure and subsequent investigation.

“This demonstrates that the well-oiled machine of whole-of-government law enforcement is empowered and capable to deal with highly-organised drug smuggling syndicates,’ Superintendent McSweeney said.

 Further liaison with Serbian authorities is still ongoing. While these processes take place, the AFP has no further detail to provide about the status of two further Australian men currently in Serbia.

Editor’s note: Footage is available to download via the following link: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/43xgoCtd4z

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