Federal police dismantle major international crime syndicate, 17 arrested

Australian Federal Police have destroyed two drug importation syndicates operating across Australia, Dubai and the Netherlands, resulting in 17 arrests and the seizure of more than 1.9 tonnes of narcotics destined for Australian streets.

Nine men and a woman were arrested in Sydney following raids early this morning, while five men were arrested in the United Arab Emirates.

Two men alleged to have been responsible for arranging the supply of drugs to the Australian-based syndicate were also arrested in The Netherlands.


The AFP investigation began in mid-2016, targeting organised crime groups attempting to import large quantities of drugs and tobacco.

“A total of 1.8 tonnes of MDMA, 136 kilograms of cocaine and 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine was seized by authorities in The Netherlands before it could reach Australia,” Federal police said in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon.

“It will be alleged in court that the syndicate worked closely to arrange, purchase and facilitate the importation of the drugs across a number of cargo container shipments between November 2016 and August 2017”.

PHOTO: Supplied – Australian Federal Police

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, National Manager Organised Crime and Cyber, said the resolution was a result of tenacious and innovative police work by the AFP, and strong domestic and international partnerships.

“The people we allege are part of this syndicate are Middle Eastern organised crime figures that are well-known to law enforcement, and for decades this group has flaunted their wealth and activities, telling the community they were untouchable. Today, it should be obvious that they are not,” Commissioner Gaughan said.

PHOTO: Supplied – Australian Federal Police

Those arrested in Australia include a 37-year-old Rose Bay man, 41-year-old Bankstown man, 36-year-old Arncliffe man, 30-year-old Greenacre man, 29-year-old Merrylands man, 34-year-old Bellevue Hill man, 37-year-old Greystanes man, 24-year-old Merrylands man and a 26-year-old Dover Heights man.

Police say they will be charged with a range of offences some of them including conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, Dealing in proceeds of crime and money worth $1,000,000 or more and possession of imported tobacco products with the intent to defraud revenue.

A 27-year-old Double Bay woman will be charged with one count of Possess firearm not authorised to do so.

Those arrested in Dubai include a 39-year-old Vaucluse man, a 43-year-old Dover Heights man, a 34-year-old Punchbowl man and two Australian men living in Dubai, aged 39 and 30 years old.