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Methamphetamine concealed in hinges seized by Victorian Joint Organised Crime Task Force

From a consignment that arrived via air cargo into Sydney, 17 kilograms of methamphetamine was seized by Victorian Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF). The consignment was of door hinges. Three men have been arrested in this connection.

The Victorian JOCTF is a team of specialists targeting organised crime from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police (VICPOL), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Border Force (ABF).

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) started investigation in August 2017 after it identified a number of Malaysian nationals suspected of planning a drug importation.

Examination of hinges by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers revealed approximately 17 kilograms of a crystal substance hidden inside the hinges. Testing showed positive result for methamphetamine and forensic analysis was conducted to determine the exact weight and purity of the seizure. Importers may have used the services of a Sydney customs broker, however evidence of such is not currently available and no charges have been laid.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug usually used as a white, bitter-tasting powder or a pill. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Other common names for methamphetamine include chalk, crank, crystal, ice, meth, and speed.

Following the seizure of 17 kilograms Methamphetamine three Malaysian men – 35-year-old, a 31-year-old and a 28-year-old were arrested in Chifley, New South Wales. They were charged with importing a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs and attempt to possess a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs. The offence can attract a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Bruce Hill, Manager Organised Crime of Australian Federal Police, said the JOCTF had acted swiftly to make the arrests. Using the intelligence obtained from supporting organisations, the JOCTF was able to identify the alleged suspects connected to this investigation and make these arrests. This is a good example of showing just how closely low enforcement agencies are working together to combat organised crime.



Six million cigarettes seized from smuggling syndicate

Law enforcement agencies seized 6.2 million cigarettes, 22 boxes of loose tobacco, drugs and $350,000 in cash during search conducted in different locations. Five men were charged for alleged association with illicit tobacco smuggling syndicate operating in south-west Sydney.

Strike Force Kindra was established by detectives from the State Crime Command’s Gangs Squad to investigate reports of an extortion involving members of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG). This initiative was supported by Australian Border Force (ABF) investigators and detectives from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) led National Anti-Gangs Squad.

Joint effort of these agencies unearthed information related to a significant drug supply network, which included outlaw motorcycle gang and other criminal groups planning large-scale importation of border-controlled drugs. On the basis of this arrests were made. Eleven men and two women – aged between 19 and 60 were charged with a variety of offences and arrested. The involvement of any local customs brokers in Sydney NSW regarding the importation of these illegal articles has not been conclusively ascertained at this time.

Strike Force Kindra officers also worked on information received in connections to a syndicate allegedly involved in the importation of illegal tobacco and counterfeit cigarettes. This led to execution of search warrants at homes at Cabramatta, Canley Heights, Canley Vale, and Strathfield; businesses at Fairfield, Canley Vale, Carlingford, Wentworthville, and Marrickville, and storage warehouses at Chipping Norton and Warwick Farm.

This resulted in the arrest of five men – aged between 26 and 59. A 26-year-old Canley Heights man was charged with smuggling tobacco products, participating in a criminal group and deal with proceeds of crime. Charges against 59-year-old Cabramatta man was of directing a criminal group, smuggling tobacco products and deal with proceeds of crime. A 45-year-old Strathfield man was charged with smuggling tobacco products and participate in a criminal group contribute criminal activity. These two men were granted strict conditional bail.

Smuggling of tobacco is a criminal offence due to tax evasion and funding organised crime. This offence can attract a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment. Five times the amount of duty evaded can also be imposed on the offender.