Second man extradited from Serbia to Sydney over 1.28 tonne cocaine seizure

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

A 49-year-old man has been extradited from Serbia and is scheduled to appear before Parramatta Local Court today (Wednesday, 1 August), to face charges connected with a multi-million dollar drug importation investigation.

The man from Murrumbateman in NSW was detained in Serbia on 16 January 2018 by local authorities to face domestic charges relating to the unlawful possession of a firearm.

He was released from criminal detention in July and extradited from Belgrade to Australia, arriving into Sydney International Airport last night (Tuesday, 31 July) under Australian Federal Police (AFP) escort.

He is the second man to be extradited from Serbia in connection with Operation Amorgos, after a 43-year-old NSW man arrived in Sydney in March 2018. This man is next scheduled to appear in the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, 2 August 2018.

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.

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 man was involved with the importation of the cocaine through his Australian business, which was used to facilitate the import.

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.

Australian Federal Police acting Manager Organised Crime, a/Commander Peter Bodel, thanked Serbian authorities for their ongoing assistance.

“More and more, the AFP’s investigations will span across borders as we continue in our work dismantling organised crime at the source, making these partnerships and the cooperation with international authorities vital,” a/Commander Bodel said.

ABF Regional Commander for NSW, Danielle Yannopoulos, said this result is a testament to the cooperation and intelligence sharing between Australian law enforcement agencies and also the significant work we do with our international counterparts.

“The result from this operation demonstrates the work we do right through across the border – from intelligence gathering before the border, detecting concealed illicit goods at the border and contributing to investigations that transcend the globe,” Commander Yannopoulos said.

Editor’s note: Footage is available to download via the following link:
https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/eFxY8m38jn

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