Global Operation Cracks Top Criminal Drug Syndicate

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3rd June 2008, 08:03am - Views: 852

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June 2008 

Global operation cracks top criminal drug syndicate

A two-year Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation spanning three

continents has culminated in the arrest of 15 people and the

dismantling of a criminal syndicate involved in the global production

and distribution of narcotics.

The highly-sensitive investigation – unprecedented in its complexity

and multi-jurisdictional coordination – has required more than 250

officers from law enforcement agencies in Australia, The Netherlands,

Pakistan and Thailand to combine efforts to crack the sophisticated

syndicate which has been responsible for the global distribution of

hundreds of kilograms of drugs.

Following the arrests of 12 people in The Netherlands last week, the

Royal Thai Police arrested a principal in Bangkok on Saturday and

Federal Police yesterday arrested two men believed to be the

Australian connection to the syndicate.

The operation undertaken by the Dutch National Crime Squad involved

more than 150 of their elite special forces and uncovered the

masterminds of the syndicate, who have been high-profile targets for

more than two years.

Australia will now seek the extradition of the 49-year-old British man

from Bangkok on 17 separate serious drug importation and distribution

related offences.

It will be alleged that the Sydney men were part of an international

conspiracy planning to illegally import 600 kilograms of the precursor

chemical pseudoephedrine, with the potential to produce more than

$120 million worth of methamphetamine (Ice).

A 51-year-old Sydney man arrested in the operation is a senior

investigator with the NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC). 

The man was identified as a person of interest by the AFP in May 2007

and it will be alleged in court that he used his position at the NSWCC

to provide advice to the syndicate on law enforcement methods and to

gather information on Australian drug enforcement activities.

Since July 2007, the AFP and the NSWCC have been jointly

investigating the man's alleged involvement in the syndicate. 

AFP Deputy Commissioner Operations Tony Negus said the joint

operation’s success was a testament to the effectiveness of

cooperation between police agencies and their ability to cripple the

illegal operations of international crime syndicates.

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“The disruption law enforcement agencies have caused to this network

cannot be underestimated. Taking out of the equation both the

principals and their distribution networks will help disrupt the flow of

illegal narcotics around the globe,” Deputy Commissioner Negus said.

“This has been a highly intricate and complex investigation which has

had to be covertly undertaken because of the parties allegedly

involved. The ability to coordinate this across multiple agencies,

jurisdictions and legal systems has been unprecedented,” he said.

It will be alleged the men had conspired to import the precursor

chemicals into Australia via a complex supply route passing through

and involving people in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Sub-


According to the AFP’s Drug Harm Index, a successful importation of

the chemicals for production would have cost the community more than

$140 million in the provision of treatment, social services and policing

if they had reached Australian streets.

A 45-year-old Sydney man was arrested at a house in Maroota and the

51-year-old man was arrested at the offices of the NSWCC in Kent

Street, Sydney.

The men will appear at Sydney Central Local Court on Tuesday, 3 June


They were late last night charged with:

Conspiracy to supply a large commercial quantity of a prohibited

drug contrary to section 25(2) and 26 of the Drug Misuse and

Trafficking Act (NSW) 1985,

Conspiracy to import into Australia a commercial quantity of a

border controlled precursor contrary to section 307.11 and

section 11.5(1) of the Criminal Code 1995; and

Conspiracy to defeat justice, contrary to section 42 of the Crimes

Act 1914.


The maximum penalties for these offences are life imprisonment

and/or  a $660,000 fine, 25 years imprisonment and/or a $550,000 fine

and five years imprisonment.

Media enquiries

AFP National Media Team     

Phone: (02) 6275 7100

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