The AFP’s ongoing arrest of criminal gang members as a result of its international sting operation involving the FBI and other police forces in various countries has resulted in the seizure of a massive $288-million stash of meth and the arrest of four men.
Operation Ironside, the code name given to the police-run encrypted app AN0M and the criminal intelligence that has resulted from it, saw four NSW men arrested and charged with being part of a syndicate responsible for trafficking and importing methamphetamine.
During the latest operation, details of which were revealed by the AFP on Saturday, members of the Australian Federal Police seized 461 kilograms of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $288-million.
Investigation began in April when AFP targeted syndicate
The investigation began in April, when the AFP targeted a transnational serious and organised crime syndicate involved in drug importation and drug trafficking.
Using information gathered from Operation Ironside, AFP and NSW Police officers raided a property the following month, where they found several bags containing approximately 20kg of methamphetamine in a hidden space beneath a truck.
Following the trail, the next day police went to another NSW property, where they located two large duffle bags containing approximately 23kg of methamphetamine hidden in a roof cavity.
They arrested a 36-year-old Roselands man and a 35-year-old Central Coast man and charged them with drug offences, the maximum penalty for which is life imprisonment. They are next due to appear at Central Local Court on 4 August.
Number of interconnected drug syndicates were uncovered
As part of their investigations, officers uncovered a number of interconnected syndicates allegedly linked to the trafficking and importation of methamphetamine.
In June, a 39-year-old Bardia man was arrested for allegedly being the onshore controller of a criminal syndicate in Australia. He was charged with allegedly directing the activities of a criminal organisation and importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drugs.
Police will allege the same man was also part of a separate syndicate organising the import a further 418kg of methamphetamine into the country.
During the same month, the consignment arrived in Brisbane on a cargo ship, where it was examined by AFP and Australian Border Force (ABF) personnel. They discovered approximately 418kg of meth hidden inside a hydraulic press and a large industrial gearbox.
Shoebox with $40,000 was found hidden inside a wardrobe
As a result of further investigations into the alleged organisers of the import, officers raided a property in Erina Heights on the NSW Central Coast, where they seized approximately $47,000 in cash, including $40,000 hidden inside a shoebox in a wardrobe. A 37-year-old man was arrested.
The man from Bardia, who had previously been arrested as part of a another police operation, was then charged with further drug-importation offences.
AFP Detective Acting Inspector, Luke Wilson, said the operation had prevented a significant amount of illicit drugs from entering Australia and damaging the community.
“The AFP has been successful in keeping these drugs off the streets through the continued collaborations with our partners,” Wilson said.