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Sixteen Arrested - World's Largest Ecstasy Seizure

Sixteen Arrested In Australia In World's Largest Ecstasy Seizure - The Law Jobs and Legal NewsWire

An intense 12-month investigation by law enforcement agencies has smashed an international drug syndicate with 16 arrested across Australia following the world’s single largest seizure of 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy.

This morning the Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested 16 across four states some of whom, it will be alleged, are involved in major distribution and trafficking of drugs in Australia.

The arrests follow the detection of the world’s largest single seizure of MDMA in June last year triggering the operation which culminated in the seizure of another 150 kilograms of cocaine in the past two weeks and today’s arrests.

The joint investigation by the AFP and Australian Customs Service began when intelligence obtained through law enforcement agencies was passed on to Customs. This led to the identification and examination of a shipping container that had arrived in Melbourne on 28 June last year.

An x-ray of the container revealed inconsistencies and was subsequently opened for inspection. Customs officers unpacked the pallets that contained tomato tins which on closer inspection were found to contain ecstasy tablets.

Customs officers and AFP agents examined the container and found more than 3000 tins, each weighing about 1.5 kilograms, containing MDMA tablets with an approximate street value of $440 million. The contents of the container were substituted with an inert substance and monitored by the AFP.

During recent investigation into the syndicate, the AFP and Customs identified another shipping container that arrived in Melbourne on 24 July 2008. Upon examination of the container, three bags of white powder were identified weighing approximately
150 kilograms. Presumptive testing indicated the presence of cocaine.

This investigation has also identified a money laundering operation worth more than
$9 million that this syndicate allegedly used to pay for the illegal drugs.

The AFP has executed 45 search warrants across Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales as part of the joint investigation.

AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty said a seizure of this magnitude is a major victory in the fight to stop drug syndicates supplying Australia's youth with extremely harmful substances.

“The operation involved the commitment of more than 400 AFP members and demonstrates the dedication and patience of the AFP in ensuring a positive result for the Australian community,” the Commissioner said.

“Investigations, like this one, that include targeting the illegal financing of organised criminal syndicates involved in the global trade in illicit drugs are proving highly successful and ensure an economic as well as social return for the community.

“This is an extraordinary outcome for law enforcement as it continues to work together to detect illicit drugs before they reach Australia. International intelligence, combined with the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies, played a big role in the success of the operation.”

Customs CEO Michael Carmody said the alleged attempt to beat border controls was sophisticated and well organised, but ultimately unsuccessful.

“Customs and its law enforcement partners are working hard to stop shipments like these from reaching Australian streets,” Mr Carmody.

“This particular detection highlights the excellent work done by our targeters and analysts to identify this shipment and the skilful use of x-ray technology.”

AFP and Customs would like to acknowledge the support and assistance provided from AusTrac who committed a member to the operation, Tasmania Police who assisted executing search warrants, Victoria Police, Australian Crime Commission and international law enforcement agencies throughout Asia and Europe.


© Scoop Media

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