Operation Ironside: NSW resident jailed for $1.7m money laundering offence

Op IRONSIDE

Editor’s note: Images available via Hightail.

A Vietnamese national, 27, has been sentenced to three years’ jail in Sydney Downing Centre Court yesterday (9 September 2022) for his role in dealing in the proceeds of crime after more than $1.7 million cash was found at his Sydney unit in May 2021.

The discovery of the cash, which police allege is the proceeds of drug supply offending, came as a result of intelligence gained during the AFP-led Operation Ironside.

In April 2021, an investigation began into a sophisticated criminal syndicate involved in the importation of illicit drugs, inter-state drug trafficking and the movement of the associated proceeds of crime.

In May 2021, as part of the investigation, police observed a large amount of cash being handed over to the driver of a vehicle. This vehicle subsequently attended a Punchbowl residence, and police executed a search warrant at this location.

Police located a Vietnamese man within the Punchbowl residence. Police also located $1,718,635 in the man’s bedroom. Other items seized included five mobile phones and two cash counting machines. Tests found the man’s fingerprints on several items, including some of the currency and the counting machines.

AFP Detective Inspector Luke Wilson said seizing money linked to crime was a key police strategy to disrupt transnational serious organised criminals.

“Money laundering involves trying to conceal the source of funds and people who help drug traffickers to access their criminal profits may buy goods or assets to try to legitimise the cash without alerting law enforcement,” Det-Insp Wilson said.

“Most organised crime is motivated by money and when you take away the profits, you hit offenders where it hurts most.”

The man pleaded guilty to:

  • Dealing in the proceeds of crime – money or property worth $1,000,000 or more, contrary to section 400.3(2A) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

The man was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. He will be eligible for parole after one year and 11 months.

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