Fourth man charged over alleged role in $245 million cocaine smuggling syndicate

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Federal Police, New South Wales Police Force

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Australian Federal Police, New South Wales Police Force

A man has been extradited from Western Australia as part of an ongoing multi-agency investigation into international drug trafficking by sea.

In August 2017, investigators from the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) Organised Crime Squad, Australian Federal Police (AFP), and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) commenced a joint investigation into the importation of cocaine by private vessels.

With the assistance of Australian Border Force, the National Gendarmerie, Tahiti; NSWPF Marine Area Command and PolAir, and specialist technical and surveillance officers from each agency, investigators monitored a vessel travelling from the South Pacific bound for NSW in November 2017.

On Wednesday 15 November 2017, a coordinated joint resolution operation occurred in the Lake Macquarie area with investigators locating 700kg of cocaine, which has an estimated potential street value of $245 million, concealed within the hull of a vessel.

During that operation, three men – aged 47, 63, and 68 – were arrested and charged.

The older men have since been convicted and sentenced. A younger man remains before the courts.

Following extensive inquiries, a 35-year-old man was arrested in Perth, Western Australia, on Sunday (24 February 2019).

He appeared before Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday (26 February 2019), where investigators applied for and were granted his extradition to Sydney.

The man was escorted by investigators to Surry Hills Police Station and charged with importation of a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.

He has been refused bail to appear at Central Local Court today (Thursday 28 February 2019).

Joint investigations are continuing, and further arrests are expected.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to organised criminal activity in the community to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

***Editor’s Note: Vision of the man’s arrival into Sydney will be available via Hightail later today.

Previously released vision relating to the November 2017 operation is available via: