Third man extradited from Serbia over 1.28 tonne cocaine seizure

A 35 year-old man has been extradited from Serbia and is scheduled to appear before Sydney Central Local Court today (Thursday, 24 January), to face charges related to the seizure of 1.28 tonnes of cocaine more than 18 months ago.

The man – an Australian national who was a resident of the United Arab Emirates – was detained in Serbia on 16 January 2018 by local authorities. He was extradited from Belgrade to Australia, arriving into Sydney International Airport last night (Wednesday, 23 January) under Australian Federal Police (AFP) escort.

He is the third and final man to be extradited from Serbia in connection with Operation Amorgos, after a 43-year-old NSW man arrived in Sydney in March 2018 and a 49-year-old man in August 2018.

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

Australian Border Force (ABF) officers intercepted and examined the container, revealing 2,576 individual blocks of cocaine with an estimated street value of up to $500 million.

The AFP will allege the man extradited today was involved with the organising and financing of the importation. 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 of the Criminal Code Act 1995
  • Conspire to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to Section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, and
  • Conspire to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, contrary to Section 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

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, said this extradition highlighted the importance of law enforcement relationships in combating organised crime.

“The AFP seeks to make a real impact by targeting organised crime at its upper management levels. The cooperation we have received from our colleagues in Serbia has been critical in initiating prosecutions against people we will allege played a key role in one of largest shipments of cocaine ever seized in Australia,” a/Commander Bodel said.

A/g ABF Regional Commander NSW, Matthew O’Connor, said the result was an excellent demonstration of the collaborative work done by the ABF, AFP and other law enforcement agencies to disrupt the importation of illicit drugs.

“The ABF is proud of the work we do in stopping these importations, and we will continue to work effectively alongside our state and federal partners to dismantle these syndicates and prosecute those responsible,” A/g Commander O’Connor said.

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