Taskforce Dismantles Ecstasy Syndicate

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20th May 2008, 10:01am - Views: 1026

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20 May 2008

Taskforce dismantles ecstasy syndicate

A joint agency taskforce has prevented an organised crime syndicate from setting

up a $4.7 million drug lab operation in Perth after an investigation into the

importation of 45 kilograms of powdered MDMA (ecstasy) into Western Australia.

It is the largest MDMA seizure recorded in Western Australia.

Authorities seized a pill-making press during the execution of search warrants at

Lockridge in Perth yesterday and later charged three men with drug importation

and possession offences.

It will be alleged in court that the joint operation involving the Australian Federal

Police (AFP), Western Australia Police (WAPol), Australian Crime Commission

(ACC) and Customs prevented the manufacture and supply of more than 150,000

ecstasy tablets.

Syndicate members were closely monitored and investigators believe the drug lab

was being set up to distribute ecstasy tablets across Australia.

A 58-year-old Sydney man and a 31-year-old Melbourne man will face Perth

Magistrates Court today charged with importing and attempting to possess a

commercial quantity of MDMA.

A 39-year-old man from Queensland, charged with attempting to possess a

commercial quantity of MDMA, will also face Perth Magistrates Court today.

Investigators from the joint agency team arrested the men at a Lockridge address

in Perth’s eastern suburbs yesterday afternoon.

Search warrants were also executed overnight at Armadale and Balga in Perth, at

Randwick in Sydney and at Thomastown in Melbourne. 

AFP Perth Manager Jamie Strauss said the arrests highlighted the cooperation

between state, federal and overseas law enforcement in combating international

drug smuggling.

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“This is a very significant seizure, not just for Western Australia but for Australia,

saving the community $13 million in associated health and social costs,”

Commander Strauss said.

Customs Acting Regional Director Western Australia Mike Soding said that

Customs works closely with its law enforcement partners to stay one step ahead

of those attempting to import drugs. 

“Customs strong operational and intelligence links, both within Australia and

overseas, allow us to effectively detect and deter sophisticated attempts to import

illegal drugs,” Mr Soding said.

WAPol Organised Crime Divisional Officer Paul Coombes said the operation was a

testament to how far law enforcement had come in Australia. 

“The result is a credit to all involved and sends a clear message to organised

crime syndicates that we are more than capable of interrupting their activities,"

Detective Superintendent Coombes said.

ACC Chief Executive Officer Alastair Milroy said the operation achieved a pleasing

result for all involved.

“This is an outstanding example of the results that can be achieved through a

unified law enforcement model,” Mr Milroy said.

The maximum penalty for these offences is life imprisonment and/or an $825,000


Media Conference

A joint media conference will be held today (Tuesday, 20 May 2008) at AFP

Headquarters in Perth, where the drugs will be on display.

Time: 10am

Who: AFP Perth Manager Jamie Strauss, Western Australian Police Organised

Crime Divisional Officer Paul Coombes and Customs Acting Regional Director

Western Australia Mike Soding.

Address: AFP Headquarters, 619 Murray Street, West Perth

Media inquiries:

AFP Media (Canberra)

(02) 6275 7100

Customs Media 

(02) 6275 6793

Western Australia Police Media

(08) 9222 1217


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