Three men charged after almost $4.7 million cash, 5kg of drugs and cryptocurrency teller machines seized – Strike Force Mactier

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, NSW Police Force

A joint-agency police investigation has resulted in the seizure of approximately $4.7 million cash, 5kg of illicit drugs, and a number of cryptocurrency automatic teller machines, following inquiries into the importation of prohibited drugs and alleged money laundering in New South Wales.

Earlier this month, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) officers – with the assistance of the US Department of Homeland Security – commenced investigations into alleged money laundering activities across Sydney.

The investigation has also been assisted by Operation PHOBETOR detectives.

Following ongoing investigations, about 4.45pm yesterday (Friday 8 April 2022), two men – aged 34 and 39 – were arrested near a unit block on Gardeners Road, Mascot.

Police searched the younger man and located and seized $120,000 in cash.

A search of the older man resulted in $51,500 in cash and 13 envelopes containing illicit drugs believed to be cocaine, heroin and methylamphetamine, located and seized for forensic examination.

Further inquiries led strike force detectives, with the assistance of the NSWPF Public Order and Riot Squad, to execute three search warrants – at two units within an apartment block on Gardeners Road, Mascot and a storage unit in Kingsgrove – between 6.40pm and 7.40pm.

A third man – aged 45 – was arrested at one of the units.

During the search warrants, officers seized approximately $4.7 million cash, money counters, mobile phones, laptops, USB storage devices, three cryptocurrency automatic teller machines, and approximately 5kg of prohibited drugs including heroin, methylamphetamine and cocaine believed to have been illegally imported into Australia.

All items seized will undergo further forensic examination.

The three men were taken to Mascot Police Station, where the 34-year-old was charged with deal with proceeds of crime and money laundering. He was granted conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday 9 May 2022.

The 39-year-old was charged with 12 offences including three counts of supply prohibited drugs (commercial quantity), three counts of supply prohibited drugs (indictable quantity), 4 counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and goods in custody.

He was refused bail and appeared at Central Local Court yesterday (Saturday 9 April 2022), where he was again refused bail to appear at the same court on Thursday 2 June 2022.

The 45-year-old man was charged with knowingly deal in the proceeds of crime and supply prohibited drug and granted conditional bail, to app[ear at Downing Centre Local Court on Friday 6 May 2022.

State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow, said the arrests and seizures are testament to the ability of the multi-agency operation to disrupt major crime across the state.

Strike Force Mactier is a strong multi-agency operation which has shown to continue to disrupt serious organised crime in NSW – including the recent seizures of more than 5kg of prohibited drugs – and we will continue to work together as a unified team,” Det Supt Critchlow said.

Our partnership with the ACIC has never been stronger; our capabilities together are second-to-none and allow us to respond to the evolving criminal landscape across the state quickly and efficiently.”

Robert Jackson, Executive Director Intelligence Operations at the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, said ACIC would continue to work with partner agencies to reduce organised crime.

The ACIC works tirelessly with our partners using our unique capabilities to deliver intelligence insights and impacts to ensure Australia continues to be a hostile place for organised crime,” Mr Jackson said.

“We look forward to working with the NSW Police Force and other domestic and international partners on more successful operations.”

Early last year (2021), detectives from the NSW Police Force’s State Crime Command, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), established Operation PHOBETOR to target and disrupt serious organised crime in NSW.