Friday, 11 September 2015 12:20:27 AM
Five men have been arrested following a joint investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering by the NSW Police Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad, together with the Australian Crime Commission and the NSW Crime Commission; have been investigating alleged money laundering activities following the seizure of $702,000 from a man at a Sydney hotel by City Central police in August 2011.
Legal action was taken against the NSW Police Force for the return of the money, with claims made it was payment for an international band who had toured Australia; however, the Supreme Court found in favour of the NSW Police Commissioner and investigations continued.
In late 2014, Organised Crime Squad detectives executed search warrants in the Sydney suburbs of Sylvania, Potts Point and Luddenham, with warrants also taking place in Richmond and Balnarring, Victoria.
During these raids, more than $68,000 cash, drugs, steroids, documents and electronic equipment were seized. A 55-year-old man was charged with dealing with the proceeds of crime, goods in custody and drug offences.
The operation also uncovered information relating to the alleged importation of 300kg of cocaine from Mexico to Australia, via the United States.
Since then, NSW Police officers have been working closely with the San Diego Field Office of the FBI to investigate the alleged drug trafficking between Mexico, the United States and Australia, and associated money laundering offences.
Following extensive inquiries, Organised Crime Squad detectives arrested three men at Kellyville, Miranda, and Sydney CBD yesterday (Thursday 3 September 2015), including two men aged 32, and 55, a 65-year-old Sydney solicitor. A fourth man – a 54-year-old music promoter – was arrested with the assistance of Victoria Police, in Melbourne last night.
Detectives executed a search warrant at the Kellyville home, and located and seized cash, steroids, cannabis and documentation.
The 32-year-old man was charged with two counts of money laundering. He has been granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday 30 September 2015.
The 55-year-old man was charged with perverting the course of justice, intention to defraud by false or misleading statement, and knowingly participate in criminal group. He has been granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 14 October 2015.
The 65-year-old man was charged with perverting the course of justice, three counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statement, and knowingly participate in criminal group. He has been granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 14 October 2015.
The 54-year-old man was charged by virtue of an arrest warrant for the offences of perverting the course of justice, two counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statement, and knowingly participate in criminal group.
Police will allege the charges against the 54, 55 and 65-year-old men relate to the unsuccessful case brought against the NSW Police Commissioner in the NSW Supreme Court for the return of the $702,000.
The arrests coincided with the arrest of a man in the United States by the FBI for drug offences and money laundering.
NSW Police Force will seek to have the 33-year-old US citizen extradited to Sydney on arrest warrants for money laundering, perverting the course of justice and intent to defraud by false or misleading statement, as well as an additional charge of drug supply – large commercial quantity.
Detectives from the Organised Crime Squad are currently in San Diego, California, working with the FBI. A number of search warrants were executed, and officers located and seized cash, gold, silver, cannabis, and documentation.
Commander of the Organised Crime Squad, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, congratulated all those involved in the investigation.
“The commitment made by the detectives and others involved in this investigation has been outstanding; they never lost focus on the job at hand,” Det Supt Cook said.
“This investigation highlights how the NSW Police Force’s Organised Crime Squad works with its law enforcement partners, not only in Australia, but around the world.
“Each of the agencies involved in this investigation have co-operated well and have ensured the investigation had every chance to succeed.
“As recent investigations have shown, it is now clear that organised syndicates impacting NSW are often transnational in nature. Whilst this presents us with challenges, those who undertake these activities need to understand that being outside the jurisdiction will not save you.
“The Organised Crime Squad will take the guns, the drugs, the proceeds of crime, and prosecute those people who engage in and with organised crime activities that impact community of NSW,” Det Supt Cook said.
Australian Crime Commission State Manager NSW, Mr Warren Gray, said profit is the primary motivator of organised crime and money laundering is carried out by most, if not all, organised crime groups.
“Investigations like this one affirm the effectiveness of ‘following the money’ as a way of unearthing organised criminal activity,” Mr Gray said.
“The collaborative work between NSW Police and the FBI, and multiple partner agencies is highly commendable and this outcome is a great result for the Australian community.”