WA investigation leads to three arrests and seizure of $1m in suspected proceeds of crime

This is a joint release between Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and AUSTRAC

***Editor's note: images are available via Hightail.***

Two Perth residents are due to appear before the Perth Magistrates Court today (20 November 2020) following an organised crime investigation by Australian authorities that resulted in the seizure of more than $1 million cash and three luxury cars valued at more than $100,000 each.

A 37-year-old Mount Pleasant man and a 29-year-old Waterford woman are two of three people arrested as part of a joint investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF)  and AUSTRAC into alleged drug trafficking and money laundering.

A 32-year-old South Perth man was the third person arrested. He appeared before the Perth Magistrates Court on 11 November and is next expected to face court on 18 December.

On 10 November 2020, AFP and ABF officers executed search warrants on premises in Mount Pleasant, South Perth, Waterford and Shelley, during which the following arrests and seizures took place:

  • Mount Pleasant: police seized about AU$15,000 cash, a small amount of cannabis, steroids and a white Mercedes Benz. The 37-year-old man was arrested and charged with possessing money and property reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime, contrary to section 400.9 of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and one count of failing to comply with a 3LA order, which lawfully compels a person to assist police to access electronic data.
  • South Perth: police seized about AU$19,000 cash, numerous electronic items and financial documents. The 32-year-old man was arrested and charged with dealing in money reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime, contrary to section 400.9 of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). He was also charged with four counts of failing to comply with a 3LA order.
  • Waterford: police seized about AU$480,000 cash in vacuum-sealed bags and a black Mercedes Benz. The 29-year-old woman was arrested and charged with dealing in money and property reasonably suspected to be the proceeds of crime, contrary to section 400.9 of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).
  • Shelley: police seized about AU$500,000 cash in vacuum-sealed bags and a further AU$10,000 in a safe at a residence linked to the 29-year-old woman.

Police later seized a white Bentley, worth more than $200,000, as part of the investigation.

The AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce is investigating suspected money laundering offences by the trio charged. Financial intelligence, analysis and profiling by AUSTRAC, along with swift cooperation from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, identified the assets likely to be proceeds of crime.

AFP Western Command Acting Superintendent Renee Colley said authorities are hitting criminal groups where it hurts: their pockets.

"We suspect the significant cash and assets seized through this investigation were not lawfully earned and are the proceeds of criminal activities," she said.

"If you have ill-gotten wealth or assets, the AFP and our partners will outsmart you, we will take your wealth and we will make you explain yourself in court."

Police are now conducting a forensic examination of seized materials. Investigations into the group's activities are continuing and further charges may be laid.

CACT brings together the resources and expertise of the AFP, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Taxation Office, AUSTRAC, and Australian Border Force. Together, these agencies trace, restrain and ultimately confiscate criminal assets.

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