Sydney man arrested in targeted organised crime investigation

Editor’s note: Images and footage of the seized vehicle are available via Hightail.

A Sydney man has been charged for his alleged role in laundering money and moving drugs for a criminal syndicate, with drugs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash seized by the AFP with the assistance of the ACIC and NSWPF in coordinated activity against the syndicate over the past four weeks.

AFP officers arrested the man last month, charging him with multiple drug and proceeds of crime offences. He remains in custody pending his next court appearance.

The man came to the notice of the AFP in August 2022, when his activities showed indicators of drug distribution and money laundering ventures.

AFP investigators intercepted the man after he collected approximately 5kgs of methamphetamine from an Oakhurst parkland on 29 September 2022.

In the following weeks, AFP members executed three search warrants in Carlton, Hurstville Grove and Cabarita, resulting in the seizure of over $250,000 in suspected proceeds of crime, 8kgs of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Encrypted devices, believed to be used to coordinate the criminal activity, and a cash counting machine were also seized.

The AFP also seized a car belonging to the man, which was found to have multiple hidden compartments containing cash and drugs. The hidden compartments were forensically examined before being dismantled by the AFP.

AFP Sergeant Bobby Higgins said police had disrupted the activities of a criminal network operating in Sydney’s suburbs.

“This operation was an example of the current hybrid nature of Australia-based criminal syndicates,” he said.

“These syndicates are not consigned to the one type of drug, and they have the ability to move and deal in large amounts of cash while using sophisticated means to conceal its storage and movement.”

The man, 25, was charged with the following:

  • Three counts of commercial trafficking offences contrary to section 302.2(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of dealing in the proceeds of crime $100,000 contrary to section 400.4(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of commercial supply of prohibited drug contrary to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of prohibited drug possession contrary to section 23(1)(c) of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985.

He is expected to next face Sutherland Court on 25 November 2022. The maximum penalty for trafficking a commercial quantity of drugs is life imprisonment.

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