Sydney man charged over alleged foreign fighter links

JCTT arrest in Mt Lewis

This is a joint media release issued by the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police Force.

A 25-year-old Mount Lewis man has been charged today as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged foreign incursion offences, and is the first Australian-based person to be charged with these offences.

Members of the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) - comprising the NSW Police Force, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission -  executed warrants at the man’s Mount Lewis home this morning, where he was arrested.

He has been charged this evening with incursion into foreign countries with the intention of engaging in hostile activities, contrary to section 119.1(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995  (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. He has also been charged with enter/remain in declared area contrary to section 119.2(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

It will be alleged in court that this man travelled to the Syrian conflict zone in March 2015, and returned to Australia in October 2015, where he has since been subject to ongoing investigations.

He has also been charged with dealing in proceeds of crime (money or property worth $1 million or more), contrary to section 400.3(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The man is scheduled to appear before Bankstown Local Court tomorrow (Wednesday, 20 December 2017).

Today’s activity was part of an ongoing investigation into money laundering, which saw three arrests earlier this year. In October 2017, JCTT officers arrested a 26-year-old Bass Hill man and charged him with dealing in proceeds of crime - money or property worth $100,000 or more – contrary to section 400.4(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). He has now been charged with the following additional State-based drug and stealing offences:

  • Manufacture and production of prohibited drugs – contrary to section 24 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1995;
  • Allowing use of premises as drug premises – offence by owner or occupier – contrary to section 36Y of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1995;
  • Possession of tablet press or drug encapsulator – contrary to section 11B of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1995;
  • Possess prohibited drugs – contrary to section 10 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1995;
  • Possess Vehicle Unique ID Interfered with, contrary to section 154(I) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW); and
  • Receiving stolen property where stealing a serious indictable offence, contrary to section 188 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

The NSW JCTT would like to reassure the community there is no current or impending threat to the community as part of today’s activities.

AFP acting Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Hurst, National Manager Counter Terrorism, said this activity was the culmination of long-term surveillance, intelligence, and protracted evidence-gathering.

“This has been a long and pain staking process, putting the pieces of the puzzle together to turn intelligence into evidence,” acting Assistant Commissioner Hurst said.

“Keeping the community safe from anyone that may seek to cause Australians harm is the key role of the JCTT – it’s the drive that pushes our investigators to see long running investigations through, and I’d like to thank them for their commitment and dedication in pursuing this operation.”

NSW Police Force Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing, Commander Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command, said the message could not be any clearer: it's illegal to fight for a terrorist organisation, anywhere.

"Anyone who thinks they can, needs to reconsider that position," Assistant Commissioner Willing said.

"The public can be reassured that all law enforcement agencies, at state and national level, work tirelessly to ensure the safety of the community."

Anyone with information on crime should always come forward, no matter how small or insignificant you may think that information may be. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123 400.


Media enquiries:

Australian Federal Police: (02) 6131 6333

NSW Police Force: (02) 8263 6100

Editor’s Note:

Images and footage of this operation is available to download at the following link:

National Security Hotline

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