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A Sydney father and son with alleged links to Middle Eastern organised crime have been charged with importing 66 kilograms of cocaine discovered in car tyres in Western Australia.
The men were arrested in Perth last Friday evening (8 July) after they went to a home in Nollamara and allegedly collected dozens of packages of what were supposed to be illicit drugs but were instead a harmless substance substituted by police.
The 53-year-old man had only flown in from Sydney earlier that day, while his son, 25, had arrived the night before (7 July 2022).
Police allege four West Australians also charged over the plot had already cut apart the four high performance wheels to access the 56 packages of white powder concealed inside.
The Sydney pair allegedly collected the packages, which had been placed inside bags and a cardboard box, and briefly stopped at a hotel before driving to a shopping centre in the Perth suburb of Belmont.
Police will allege the two men opened at least one of the plastic wrapped blocks to test the contents before dumping all of them in a skip bin outside the shopping centre.
AFP investigators, assisted by ABF officers, swooped on the pair soon after they left the shopping centre, arresting them and then retrieving the dumped items.
AFP officers in NSW later searched the men’s family home in the South-Western Sydney suburb of Canterbury, where they seized items that will undergo further examination.
AFP Superintendent Graeme Marshall said the successful removal of cocaine with an estimated value of about $24 million from Australian streets would make the community safer.
“We suspect these men were planning to take the cocaine to the eastern states for distribution,” Detective Superintendent Marshall said.
“Drug trafficking syndicates will try any avenue they can to flood Australia with drugs because of the profit they can make, however the AFP is working closely with our Commonwealth partners to disrupt these syndicates and protect the Australian community.
“The cost of this greed is paid by the Australian community. Some of these costs can’t be measured – such as the impact on every frontline paramedic, doctor, nurse or police officer who gets assaulted by drug-affected persons; people living in fear of gang-related violence resulting in a stray bullet in their child’s bedroom; or someone whose parent, child, partner or friend doesn’t make it home because of a car accident with a drug-affected driver.
“The AFP will continue to attack drug traffickers’ operations, logistics, finances and communications – both onshore and offshore – to ensure the protection of the West Australian community.”
ABF Commander James Copeman said officers had intercepted the consignment of four wheel rims due to a number of anomalies, including a presumptive-positive result, using trace and substance detection technology. The consignment was then referred to the AFP.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s an MDMA tablet in an envelope, meth hidden in pillows or a tonne of heroin built into heavy duty machinery, the ABF has a range of sophisticated targeting methods which combine with our passionate officers who are determined to prevent these harmful substances from entering Australia,” Commander Copeman said.
ACIC Acting Executive Director Intelligence Operations Thomas Hester said this result was another example of the importance of agencies working together to deliver impacts through their unique capabilities.
“By working together, we are preventing illicit drugs such as cocaine from reaching the community and we will continue to work with our partners to target those who profit from the trafficking of these drugs, with no regard for the harm they cause,” Mr Hester said.
The men have each been charged with:
- Import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs (cocaine), contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
- Attempt to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs (cocaine), contrary to section 307.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
Both offences carry a potential penalty of life imprisonment.
The men faced Perth Magistrate’s Court today (15 July 2022) and have been remanded in custody to re-appear next week (21 July).
The three WA men and a WA woman have each been charged with attempt to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug (cocaine).
The AFP launched an investigation into the transnational drug trafficking enterprise after Australian Border Force (ABF) officers allegedly found the cocaine inside a consignment of four tyres imported from Switzerland.
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297
ABF Media: (02) 6264 2211
Note to media:
Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.
For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counselling online at www.counsellingonline.org.au
For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to www.turningpoint.org.au