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The Aus/NZ/Asian Drug Busts Mega-Thread Number Five

drug_mentor

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Continuation of the old thread.

Originally Posted by hoptis View Post
This is a thread to post news articles related to police seizures of illicit drugs, their precursors, manufacturing equipment and paraphernalia in Australia/New Zealand. This also includes any articles relating to the court outcomes or sentencing for a bust and crimes relating to prescription drugs. For extremely large busts, especially any that break existing Australian records for a drug, a new thread should be started.

NO SOCIAL CHATTER

This includes posts:
Bemoaning a seizure of drugs
Contemplating whether a seizure will affect availability of a drug in a particular area
Guessing at how long before police put the drugs back on the street


Posts of this type will be removed.

When posting articles please quote the full text of the article and a link to the source, also please check that it hasn't already been posted.

Cheers

Old thread is here
 

bornaTubby

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After spending months trying to infiltrate an underground website that made buying and selling recreational drugs nearly as easy as shopping online for a book or TV, half a dozen FBI agents shuffled into the science fiction section of a San Francisco library and grabbed a young man working on a laptop.
Authorities say the man was San Francisco resident Ross William Ulbricht, and they accused him of being ‘‘Dread Pirate Roberts,’’ the once-anonymous mastermind behind the online drug marketplace known as Silk Road.
Silk Road is the Amazon of the drug trade.
Silk Road: ''the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet''.
Ulbricht, who US authorities claim ran the ''Silk Road Hidden Website'' from January 2011 until last month, had called himself ''Dread Pirate Roberts'' or ''DPR,'' after a character in the 1987 film The Princess Bride. Before venturing into the illicit online retail business, which prosecutors described as ''the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet'' he spent more than five years as a student.
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The federal complaint accuses him of computer hacking, narcotics trafficking and money laundering. The government also said he spent $US150,000 on a hit man to try to get rid of a blackmailer who threatened to expose users of the site.
The FBI said Ulbricht ran Silk Road from San Francisco, where he had been living for the past year, including at an internet cafe not far from his home. They said that since at least 2011, he has generated tens of millions of dollars worth of commissions by facilitating the sale of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other drugs.
Silk Road
Ross William Ulbricht.
He had graduated from the University of Texas with a physics degree in 2006, then attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Materials Science and Engineering from 2006 to 2010. After graduate school, Ulbricht wrote on his LinkedIn profile, his goals had ‘‘shifted,’’ prompting him to create an ‘‘economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force’’ by ‘‘institutions and governments,’’ the FBI said.
That ‘‘simulation,’’ the government alleges, was Silk Road.
On the Silk Road operation, Ulbricht allegedly ran a tight ship, employing a small staff of administrators, whom he paid an average of $US1000 to $US2000 a week to help operate the site, according to investigators. The administrators filed weekly reports on their activities, asked him for guidance in dealing with user inquiries and sought permission before taking leave.
On September 23, Silk Road had almost 13,000 listings for illegal drugs, under categories including cannabis, dissociatives, ecstasy, intoxicants, opioids, precursors, psychedelics and stimulants, according to the complaint. Under its ''services'' heading, users could hire computer hackers, buy instructions for hacking cash machines or obtain a list of black-market contacts to get anonymous bank accounts, counterfeit money, guns, stolen credit card information and hit men.
A ''seller’s guide'' on the site advised users to vacuum seal packages containing drugs to avoid detection by police dogs and drug-detection machines.
To hide his illegal activities from authorities, Ulbricht ran Silk Road on ''The Onion Router'' or ''Tor'' network, an Internet network designed to hide the identities of users by making it almost impossible to identify computers used to access or host websites, prosecutors said.
Yet a beginner's error may have brought him undone. According to a Slate blogger Ulbricht visited Stack Overflow, a website which invites users to answer questions about coding problems, in March 2012 to ask two questions. One of those questions, ''How can I connect to a Tor hidden service using curl in php?'' caught the attention of the FBI.
Ulbricht had posted the question using his own name, and having noticed his mistake less than a minute later, quickly changed it to his username ''frosty''. The careless error would prove costly. It was picked up by the FBI and cited as a key piece of evidence against him in the criminal complaint filed in a federal court in Manhattan this week.
Beginning in November 2011, undercover agents made more than 100 drug purchases, including ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and LSD, from Silk Road vendors, according to the complaint.
On August 5, 2011, DPR notified users of a new category of illegal items for sale on the site.
''We are happy to announce a new category in the marketplace called forgeries,'' he said in a message posted on the site. ''In this category, you will find offers for forged, government issued documents including fake IDs and passports.''
The legal documents made public Wednesday provided a window into an enterprise that, according to the government, generated $US1.2 billion in illicit sales and took in $US80 million in commissions in less than three years.
In March, a Silk Road vendor known as FriendlyChemist told DPR (Ulbricht) through the site’s private message system that he had a list of the real names and addresses of Silk Road vendors and customers, which he obtained by hacking into the computer of another vendor, according to the complaint. FriendlyChemist threatened that he would publish the information on the Internet unless DPR paid him $500,000, which he said he needed to pay off his drug suppliers.
DPR corresponded with a Silk Road user called redandwhite who said he represented the people owed money by FriendlyChemist.
''In my eyes, FriendlyChemist is a liability and I wouldn’t mind if he was executed,'' DPR said on March 27, according to the complaint. DPR provided FriendlyChemist’s name and address in White Rock, British Columbia, with ''Wife +3 kids.'' DPR later paid $US150,000 to redandwhite to have FriendlyChemist killed, according to the complaint.
Canadian law enforcement authorities told the FBI they had no record of any Canadian resident with the name DPR passed on to redandwhite nor any record of a homicide in White Rock at the time. Ulbricht wasn’t charged in the alleged murder-for-hire scheme.
Ulbricht is charged with narcotics-trafficking conspiracy, computer-hacking conspiracy and money-laundering conspiracy. If convicted he faces as long as life in prison. He made an initial appearance in a five-minute proceeding today in federal court in San Francisco. Ulbricht said he can’t afford an attorney and was assigned a federal public defender. He remains in custody.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/te...ine-mistake-20131003-2utky.html#ixzz2gelv9OjO
 

poledriver

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Customs seize 30kg drugs at mail centres

THEY came disguised as washing powder, body lotion, resin and hidden in a coffee machine.

But the 30 kilograms of precursor and performance-enhancing drugs en route to NSW addresses didn't fool customs officers.

In the past week, they've uncovered 24.6kg of ephedrine, 6kg of ContacNT and 2kg of testosterone at the NSW Air Cargo and Sydney Mail Centre.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) says the 10 consignments from China, Hong Kong and Vietnam were destined for various addresses across the state.

The ephedrine was concealed in items such as scraper handles, metal lunch boxes, body lotion, tile cutters, resin, a table top and a coffee machine.

Authorities discovered the testosterone hidden in washing powder, while the ContacNT was concealed in extension cords.

ContacNT is a cold and flu medication that contains high levels of pseudoephedrine, a precursor chemical used to manufacture methamphetamine, also known as ice.

Importing prohibited substances attracts a fine of up to $170,000 or five years in jail.

"No matter how these prohibited substances are concealed, our highly trained officers have the intelligence, technology and expertise to detect these dangerous drugs," ACBPS acting national manager cargo operations Gerry Rodrigues said in a statement.

Investigations are ongoing.

http://www.news.com.au/breaking-new...-at-mail-centres/story-e6frfku9-1226732756194
 

poledriver

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Cops bust three for allegedly hiding 200kg of methamphetamine in truck tyres

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Media Release: Three arrested for importing more than 200kgs of methamphetamine in truck tyres
Release Date: Friday, October 11 2013, 10:00 AM

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Crime Commission.

A multi-agency taskforce has seized more than 200kgs of methamphetamine concealed in truck tyres, and arrested three men following an operation in Melbourne this week.

The methamphetamine has an estimated potential street value of up to $200 million. Further forensic testing will be undertaken to determine exact weight and purity.

This is one of the largest multi-agency operations involving joint waterfront taskforces in Brisbane (Jericho), Sydney (Polaris) and Melbourne (Trident), as well as the Sydney-based Joint Organised Crime Group and the Melbourne-based Joint Organised Crime Taskforce.

The operation began on 13 September when the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) identified a consignment arriving into Australia consisting of a medium sized truck destined for Melbourne.

Further examination revealed a number of packages containing a crystalline substance concealed in the tyres of the truck. Initial testing determined the substance to be methamphetamine.

The matter was referred to the two joint taskforces in Melbourne and Sydney and a controlled operation commenced.

On 1 October, the consignment arrived in the port of Melbourne and was collected by a 59-year-old Altona Meadows man. The consignment was then delivered to a factory in Brooklyn on 3 October.

On 9 October officers from the Joint Organised Crime Taskforce executed seven search warrants in Altona Meadows, Brooklyn, Point Cook and Hoppers Crossing. A 59-year-old Altona Meadows man, a 29-year-old Point Cook man and a 25-year-old Point Cook man were subsequently arrested.

An eighth search warrant was executed at a factory in Laverton yesterday (10 October).

Items seized from search warrants included $80,000 in cash, hard drives and mobile phones.

Police will allege the 59-year-old Altona Meadows man and the 29-year-old Point Cook man were recently employed as dock workers in Melbourne.

AFP Manager Melbourne Office Commander Scott Lee said this operation shows Australian law enforcement agencies are more united than ever in the fight against organised crime.

"Australian agencies are setting a benchmark for law enforcement cooperation. Through our combined commitment to combatting this crime type, we are working across jurisdictions and borders to deal significant blows to crime syndicates," Commander Lee said.

ACBPS Regional Director Victoria Graham Krisohos said this significant detection demonstrates the commitment of Australian law enforcement agencies to protecting the Australian community.

"No matter how sophisticated the concealment, Customs and Border Protection and our law enforcement partners have the technology and intelligence to stop these dangerous drugs at the border," Mr Krisohos said.

Victoria Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Steve Fontana said this operation was another example of the great joint agency partnership.

"Operations like this show just how effective we can be in detecting and disrupting organised crime in this country when we work together and share our knowledge and expertise," Acting Deputy Commissioner Fontana said.

ACC Victoria State Manager Jonathan Nicholl said that this outcome demonstrates the strength of collaborated law enforcement in Australia.

"Australian law enforcement is a formidable force in Australia and with this united effort we have sent a strong message to organised criminals."

The AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce, which includes members of the ACC and the Australian Taxation Office, will proceed with asset seizure.

Summary of charges:

A 59-year-old Altona Meadows man and a 29-year-old Point Cook man were charged with:

Importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, contrary to section 307.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
Attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported, contrary to section 307.8(1) and 11.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
A 25-year-old Point Cook man was charged with:

Attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug reasonably suspected of having been unlawfully imported, contrary to section 307.8(1) and 11.1(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
These offences carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The men appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday 9 October and are next scheduled to appear on 29 January 2014.

Taskforce information:

The Melbourne-based Joint Organised Crime Taskforce consists of Victoria Police, ACBPS, AFP and the Australian Crime Commission.

The Sydney-based Joint Organised Crime Group consists of NSW Police, NSW Crime Commission, ACPBS, AFP and the Australian Crime Commission.

The Jericho Taskforce includes the AFP, ACBPS, Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, Queensland Police Service and AUSTRAC.

The Polaris Taskforce includes the AFP, NSW Police Force, ACBPS, Australian Crime Commission and the NSW Crime Commission.

The Trident Taskforce includes the AFP, ACBPS, Victoria Police, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Tax Office and AUSTRAC.

http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/...00kgs-of-methamphetamine-in-truck-tyres1.aspx
 
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poledriver

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Media Release: Three Perth men arrested following attempt to internally import drugs

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, Western Australia Police and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

Three men in Perth have been charged with drug offences following an attempt to import methylamphetamine into Australia.

A 44-year-old Perth man is scheduled to appear before Perth Magistrates Court today for allegedly importing 608 grams of methylamphetamine concealed inside his stomach.

As a result of information provided by Western Australia Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) officers conducted a baggage examination when the man arrived at Perth International Airport on a flight from Thailand on
4 October 2013.

Initial testing revealed traces of methylamphetamine and the matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The AFP transferred the man to hospital for medical examination following suspicions he may have been concealing drugs internally.

A total of 152 pellets containing 608 grams of methylamphetamine were retrieved. The man was yesterday charged with importing a marketable quantity of a Border Controlled Drug contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 and is to appear in court today.

Western Australia Police later arrested a 42-year-old Koondoola man at his house and charged him with importing a marketable quantity of a Border Controlled Drug contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. He was bailed to appear before Perth Magistrates Court on 1 November 2013.

Following further investigation, the AFP and West Australian Police arrested a 43-year-old Padbury man on Monday, 7 October and charged him with importing a marketable quantity of a Border Controlled Drug contrary to section 307.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 and possess methylamphetamine with intent to sell of supply contrary to section 6(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act. The man appeared before court on 8 October and was remanded in custody for a bail hearing on 11 October 2013.

AFP Acting National Manager Aviation David Stewart said these arrests demonstrate the combined efforts of law enforcement and border protection agencies to combat drug importation.

“People will go to dangerous lengths in their attempts to smuggle drugs into Australia, and internal concealments are extremely dangerous and high risk,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Stewart said.

“The AFP is committed to working closely with its partner agencies to ensure these drugs don’t go undetected and make it into our communities.”

Detective Inspector Chris Adams, WA Police Serious and Organised Crime Division said that the WA Police Organised Crime Squad works closely with state and national law enforcement agencies across Australia to target those people involved in the importation and distribution of illicit drugs.

“The use of illicit drugs is in our community creates flow on effects in relation to crime, health and family breakdowns,” said Detective Inspector Adams.

“People who sell drugs are doing nothing more than profiting from the misery they create for others.”

“The flow on effect in our community includes the burglaries, robberies and other volume crime offences committed to pay for a drug habit, and the link to violence and domestic violence whilst under the influence of drugs. “

ACBPS National Manager Airport Operations South Tonie Differding congratulated airport operations officers on preventing this illicit drug from reaching the streets.

“No matter how these illegal drugs are hidden, our officers have the intelligence, the skills, and the technology to stop dangerous drugs from entering the country.”

The maximum penalty for importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug is 25 years imprisonment and/or a $550,000 fine.

http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/...owing_attempt_to_internally_import_drugs.aspx
 

poledriver

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Two arrested over $12m drug haul


A Canadian man and a Chinese woman have been charged with smuggling drugs with a street value of up to $12 million into Australia in the lining of their suitcases.

Customs officers allegedly found about 12 kilograms of the drug ice when they examined baggage belonging to the pair after they arrived at Sydney Airport on a flight from Canada on Saturday.

Australian Federal Police charged the 38-year-old man and 28-year-old woman with importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine.

AFP national manager aviation David Stewart said the size of the seizure and the amount of harm it had the potential to cause “cannot be understated”.

Further forensic testing will be conducted to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance found.

The Australian Crime Commission estimates that 12 kilograms of methamphetamine has a potential street value of roughly between $9 to $12 million.

This is based on the calculation that one kilogram of high purity methamphetamine has an estimated street value of $1 million.

The accused were due to appear in Parramatta Local Court on Sunday.

They face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/two-arrested-over-12m-drug-haul-20131020-2vuk9.html#ixzz2iEKBjiOY
 

poledriver

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Federal police smash drug ring, arrest three Canadian nationals

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FEDERAL police have smashed an international drug trafficking ring operating in Melbourne, seizing 650kg of pseudoephedrine.
Three Canadian nationals were arrested in raids in the CBD and at Melbourne Airport on Sunday.

The drugs were found mixed with vanilla powder, and officers estimate the seizure would have a street value of up to $100 million if it were made into methamphetamines.

A man, 46, was arrested trying to board a plane at Tullamarine.

He was due to take a domestic flight and it was believed he was within hours of leaving the country.

A man, 27, and a woman, 30, were arrested at a city apartmen. They have been charged with trafficking large quantities of a drug of dependence.

The Australian Federal Police said the 653kg of drugs were found in a storage container in South Melbourne following intelligence gathered by New South Wales police.

Officers had identified a vehicle carrying boxes of pseudoephedrine in vanilla powder.

Federal officers involved in Operation Diamond Back were alerted and began watching the shipment in August.

Police have been watching the premises since.

The bust is the latest in an 18-month investigation into a major international syndicate which has led to seven other arrests, including four Canadians and three Australians.

The AFP have seized a total of 1.9 tonnes during the investigation, worth $300 million.

AFP Melbourne office manager Commander Scott Lee said the arrests would be a significant blow to the international crime syndicate.

"It really does impact on what they sought to profit,'' he said.

"We are committed to disrupting organised crime syndicates that impact on the Australian community."

The AFP was working with Victoria Police, Customs officials and the Australian Crime Commission.

http://www.news.com.au/national-new...nadian-nationals/story-fnii5sms-1226743428662
 

Jabberwocky

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Men plead guilty over huge drug haul

Four men have pleaded guilty to producing drugs on a large scale in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Two of the men were found with over one kilogram of pure methylamphetamine when police raided a Beechmont house in 2010.

At the time police said the drugs had a street value of up to $3 million.

Dino Spizzirri, Jason Hinton, Stephen Creighton and Kevin O'Hara pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday to producing drugs and possessing items used in the commission of a crime.

Creighton, 54, also pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and possession.

The court heard Spizzirri, 56, was the ringleader and Hinton, 34, was his right-hand man.

O'Hara, 31, sourced the chemicals and cooking implements and Creighton sold the drugs from the warehouse of his business.

Police tapped the men's phones and hid a camera in the warehouse during a covert surveillance operation in late 2009 and early 2010.

The surveillance paid off in May 2010 when police raided the Beechmont house and found Spizzirri and Hinton with the methylamphetamine in the final stages of production.

Crown prosecutor Sarah Farnden called it a sophisticated operation which took some time to set up.

"This is clearly a commercial production on a large scale," she told the court.

The men are expected to be sentenced later on Monday.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/10/21/16/10/men-plead-guilty-over-huge-drug-haul
 

poledriver

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Elderly Perth couple unknowingly used as drug mules after winning holiday to Canada

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Australian Federal Police have uncovered a scam in which an elderly Perth couple were unknowingly used as drug mules.

Police say the couple, aged 64 and 72, travelled to Canada after being told they had won a free holiday, including seven nights' accommodation and new luggage.

They became suspicious on their return to Perth and alerted Customs officers who found 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in each of their suitcases.

A 38-year-old Canadian man was arrested at Perth airport and has been charged with importing a commercial quantity of methamphetamine.

AFP Commander David Bachi said police do not believe the couple were willingly involved.

"The investigation has revealed a complex and highly organised scam in which older Australians appear to be targeted by a bogus Canadian-based tour company identifying themselves as Auscan Tours," he said.

"The organisers of this scam went to great lengths to provide a façade of legitimacy.

"Thankfully the travellers contacted Customs and didn't dismiss their concerns, allowing us to make the arrest.

"We will continue working with local and international law enforcement partners, targeting all elements of this drug syndicate."

"Victims of this scam or any persons who have received similar offers of travel should contact the AFP immediately."

Jan Hill, the director of Customs Airport Operations in Perth, warned travellers about carrying luggage on behalf of someone else, no matter the circumstance.

"If you've been asked to carry something on behalf of another person, make the right choice and alert local authorities," Ms Hill said.

"Do not allow another person to pack your bag and do not carry luggage on behalf of another person."

The AFP says investigations into the incident are continuing.

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-25/perth-couple-unknowingly-used-as-drug-mules/5046100
 

poledriver

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Couple in their 60s travelling interstate caught with cannabis in their caravan

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TWO grey nomads have been charged with drug offences after police found 7.25kg of cannabis hidden in their caravan.

The Fleurieu Peninsula couple were stopped by police on the Mallee Highway at Lameroo about 9.30am where their caravan was searched.

Police will allege the undercarriage of the caravan had been modified to include a purpose-built compartment containing 16 packages, each with one pound (0.45kg) of cannabis inside.

The couple, a 64-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman, were allegedly trying to traffic the cannabis interstate.

The caravan and the drugs have been seized and the couple have been charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of cannabis.

They were bailed to appear in the Berri Magistrates Court late next month.

Investigations into the origin of the cannabis are continuing.

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/...in-their-caravan/story-fni6uo1m-1226748381553
 

poledriver

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Media Release: Two arrested for importing 18kgs of methamphetamine

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.

Two Taiwanese men have been arrested by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for allegedly importing 18 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden inside machinery from China.

On 17 October 2013 Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) officers targeted a consignment described as industrial metal bending machines which arrived in Sydney from China.

Customs officers and AFP Forensics specialists examined the consignment, which consisted of wooden crates containing six metal blocks with grinding wheels.

The examination revealed the metal blocks each contained three kilograms of methamphetamine, with a total weight of 18 kilograms.

AFP officers substituted the methamphetamine for an inert substance and the consignment was delivered to a residence in the Sydney suburb of Marsfield.

The 33-year-old and 22-year-old Taiwanese nationals were arrested by the AFP on Monday, 28 October 2013, after accessing the bending machines to retrieve the concealed substance.

They are both scheduled to appear in Sydney Central Local Court today.

AFP Acting Manager Serious and Organised Crime Damien Appleby said this seizure highlighted the benefit of collaboration between local and international law enforcement.

“The AFP values the assistance provided by the Taiwanese authorities during this investigation, which has helped prevent a significant amount of dangerous drugs from reaching Australian streets,” said Acting Commander Appleby.

“This is an example of why international partnerships are critical in combatting organised criminal syndicates operating without concern for international borders or law.”

ACBPS National Manager Cargo Operations Jagtej Singh said these drugs were concealed in a particularly sophisticated fashion.

“Criminals are endlessly creative in the ways in which they seek to breach our border controls, but Customs and Border Protection officers have the skills, training, technology and expertise to detect such attempts,” Mr Singh said.

Both men were charged with attempt to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 307.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995, by virtue of section 11.1.

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/...d-for-importing-18kgs-of-methamphetamine.aspx
 

poledriver

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Media Release: Trident Taskforce shuts down multi-million dollar tobacco importation syndicate

This is a joint release between the Australian Federal Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Victoria Police and the Australian Crime Commission.

Trident Taskforce has closed the net on one of the biggest organised illicit tobacco importation syndicates in the country's history.

Four people have been arrested and large sum of money was seized in warrants today as the taskforce executed the second phase of the operation.

Phase one of the operation was conducted in June, with six people charged.

The operation commenced in January, following on from an Australian Customs and Border Protection Service operation as a result of the detection of a large quantity of illegally imported tobacco from Indonesia.

Phase two of the operation was initiated from intelligence gathered during the first phase and other material, alleging that an organised crime syndicate was importing a large volume of illicit tobacco from the United Arab Emirates and other overseas locations.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Crime Command Steve Fontana said all up, the estimated total defrauded revenue was more than $67 million.

"This is one of the largest organised crime set ups, in relation to international tobacco importation, we have seen with around 71 tonnes and 80 million cigarette sticks seized," Mr Fontana said.

"The illicit importation of tobacco at this scale allows organised crime groups to develop considerable wealth.

"Anecdotal evidence suggests proceeds of tobacco finance further illicit drug purchases and criminal activity.

"Law enforcement agencies are conscious of the risk organised crime in the port environment poses to legitimate trade and the risk of illicit commodities entering the country.

"The benefit of a multi-agency approach is sharing our intelligence, collective experience and assets to detect and disrupt this level of illegal activity arriving through our ports.

"This operation would not have been possible without the strong partnerships between Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Australian Transactions Reporting and Analysis Centre, Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Crime Commission."

The six people arrested in June were charged with a range of offences, including dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth by smuggling tobacco products into Australia, dealing in the proceeds of crime and importing tobacco products into Australia with the intention of defrauding the Australian revenue.

Trident Taskforce is a joint agency taskforce that was established in July 2012, comprising Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, Australian Transactions Reporting and Analysis Centre, Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Crime Commission.

Their focus is to create a hostile environment for organised crime to exist in the maritime environment.

http://www.afp.gov.au/media-centre/...ion-dollar-tobacco-importation-syndicate.aspx
 

poledriver

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Olympian faces more drug charges

Former Olympic kayaker Nathan Baggaley has been arrested on drug manufacture charges just two years after being released from a four year jail term for similar offences.

A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police confirmed two men, aged 37 and 52, had been arrested in Tweed Heads as part of an ongoing investigation into drug laboratories.

Baggaley, 37, will face seven charges including conspiracy to import and manufacture a prohibited drug, and to supply a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.

A 52-year-old man was also charged with drug manufacture.

The pair have been refused bail and will appear in court in Lismore on Monday.

Police said a 32-year-old man had also been arrested as part of the investigation.

''As this matter is currently still the subject of an AFP investigation, it is not appropriate to comment further.'' said a spokesperson.

Mr Baggaley was released from jail in 2011 after serving four years behind bars for manufacturing and dealing ecstasy.

Last November he told the Daily Telegraph newspaper, "I need to get back on track, get my life in order and try and make it up to people, particularly my family.''

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/olympian-faces-more-drug-charges-20131103-2wu8m.html#ixzz2jYWPDmhT
 
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poledriver

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Customs bust passenger smuggling precursor drugs in noodles and rice - 1 November 2013

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) officers seized approximately two kilograms of ephedrine at Sydney International Airport yesterday, 31 October 2013.

A 68 year-old who arrived on a flight from Vietnam was stopped by ACBPS officers for a baggage examination.

During the examination, officers noticed a brown-coloured powder mixed into packets of rice and noodles. Further testing of the powder returned positive results for ephedrine.

“This concealment was a direct attempt to evade detection by Customs and Border Protection,” ACBPS Acting National Manager Airport Operation North, Allison Denny-Collins said.

“We take the illegal importation of precursor chemicals very seriously. If you are caught trying smuggle prohibited substances through Customs, you could face heavy penalties or even gaol time.”

Ephedrine is used to manufacture dangerous and illegal amphetamine-type substances such as ‘ice’. Importing ephedrine without a permit is prohibited.

Those caught importing a marketable amount of a border controlled precursor, such as ephedrine, could face a fine of up to $510,000 and/or 15 years in prison.

http://www.customs.gov.au/site/131101mediarelease_ephedrine-rice-noodles.asp
 

Jabberwocky

Frumious Bandersnatch
Joined
Nov 3, 1999
Messages
65,324
Location
Looking-Glass Land
Police smash Sydney hydro factory at Botany containing almost 1000 plants worth $1.7 million

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POLICE from the NSW Drug Squad have raided a massive Hydro warehouse in Sydney today, seizing nearly 1000 cannabis plants worth an estimated $1.7 million.

Police went to a factory in Aylesbury St, Botany, just after 7am where they found 854 plants in various stages of maturity.

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The factory, measuring 600sq m had been converted into a massive hothouse complete with a fully automated watering system.

Over the past two years police have uncovered and seized more than $20m from hydro houses throughout the city, but mainly in rented homes in suburban streets.

NSW Police were acting on information provided to them by the Australian Crime Commission.

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http://www.news.com.au/national/nsw...worth-17-million/story-fnii5s3x-1226757401999
 

drug_mentor

Bluelight Crew
Joined
Jul 12, 2006
Messages
7,541
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Just a friendly reminder, this thread is for the posting of news articles only, not for any comments or discussion on them. This thread is the appropriate one for making any comments about articles posted here. :)

Also, availability discussion is not allowed in AusDD, this includes discussing whether or not a particular drug bust will have an effect on drug supply in your area, or any other area.
 

Jabberwocky

Frumious Bandersnatch
Joined
Nov 3, 1999
Messages
65,324
Location
Looking-Glass Land
Drug arrests: $12m worth of 'ice' hidden in television

Police have arrested three people during an alleged major drug deal in Sydney's south-east in which $12 million worth of methylamphetamine, known as "ice", had been hidden inside a television.

Heavily armed police also raided two brothels and a number of properties as part of a five-month investigation that detectives say has smashed "a very active drug network" operating across Sydney.

About 1.30pm on Wednesday, officers from the Tactical Operations Unit interrupted an alleged drug deal in Arncliffe taking place between two men and one woman.

The officers arrested the trio and and seized 10 kilograms of ice that allegedly had been hidden inside a television. Police estimate the drugs had a street value of more than $12 million. They also seized a luxury vehicle.

As those arrests were taking place, officers also executed five search warrants on two brothels and residential addresses at Liverpool, Campsie, Carlingford, Hurstville and Chipping Norton.

Another man was arrested at the Liverpool address.

Detective Superintendent Michael Plotecki, commander of the Organised Crime Targeting Squad, said the arrests followed a five-month investigation carried out by Strike Force Nemo.

In August, the same strike force arrested three people and seized 40 kilograms of ice allegedly being imported from Colombia.

“Strike Force Nemo was a very successful five-month investigation that has effectively closed down a very active drug network operating across Sydney," Superintendent Plotecki said.

"This remains an ongoing inquiry and we expected further arrests, and additional charges will be laid regarding this investigation.”

During Wednesday's raids, a 50-year-old Liverpool man was arrested and charged with two counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, and four counts of supplying an indictable quantity of a prohibited drug.

He was refused bail and is due to appear at the Liverpool Local Court on Thursday.

A 50-year-old Hurstville man, a 42-year-old Carlingford man and a 39-year-old woman from Carlingford also were arrested and each has been charged with two counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.

They were all refused bail to appear in Kogarah Local Court on Thursday.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/drug-arrests-12m-worth-of-ice-hidden-in-television-20131114-2xhmw.html
 

poledriver

Bluelighter
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
11,548
150 kilograms of cheese found in car, police say



A man has been charged after police allegedly found 150 kilograms of cheese in his car in Sydney's north-west.

Officers were patrolling in Carlingford when they stopped a black Ford Focus in Marsden Road at 3.30am on Thursday.

After talking to the 38-year-old female driver and her 31-year-old male passenger, they searched the car and allegedly found drugs.

But when they looked further they also say they found what they called "King Cheese" in the back seat and boot.

Police believe the cheese was "stolen or illegally obtained".

The man has been charged with possessing prohibited drugs.

He's also been charged with goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen in connection with the cheese.

He was refused bail and will appear in Ryde Local Court on Thursday.

No charges have been laid against the woman.

Police say the cheese has now been destroyed.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/150-kilog...-police-say-20131114-2xijm.html#ixzz2kalAbJeC
 

poledriver

Bluelighter
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
11,548
Sydney grandma, 39, caught in $12m ice bust

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Police allege the grandmother supplied 10kg of methamphetamine. (Pic: AAP / file) Source: AAP

A SYDNEY grandmother accused of supplying $12 million worth of ice has wept violently in court as she was told that she could face life in prison.

Lu Jing Yu, 39, faced Kogarah Local Court on Thursday where police alleged she was supplying 10kg of methamphetamine, or "ice".

The Carlingford mother-of-five and grandmother cried as she was told that a conviction could carry a maximum penalty of life behind bars.

Her young children, one aged only 11, wept as their mother applied for bail and was assisted by a Mandarin interpreter.

Slim, dressed in three-quarter black jeans and a striped polo shirt, Yu didn't look like a grandmother while sitting in the dock.

The court heard she was in a car with her husband Wenping He on Wednesday.

Her husband dropped her off and she got into another car.

He, 42, was allegedly caught by police with the 10kg of ice in a TV set stored the boot of the car at Arncliffe on Wednesday afternoon. The drugs have an estimated street value of $12 million.

Police allegedly found $50,000 in US dollars and $20,000 in Australian cash at the family's Carlingford home.

Her barrister told the court that although the prosecution had an "extremely strong" case against her husband, Yu didn't know what was in the boot of the car and was not present when a supposed drug deal was taking place.

Both were charged with the large commercial supply of the prohibited drug ice, along with another man, Dong Pei Wang and a third man who faced Liverpool Local Court.

Wang and He are also accused of supplying 995.7 grams of ice on October 22 in Mascot.

Yu was granted bail but won't walk free until police determine a $600,000 surety is legitimate, the court heard.

She will have to surrender her passport, not leave NSW and report daily to police.

Wang and He didn't apply for bail, it was formally refused and they will face Central Local Court later this month.

Officers also raided two brothels, as well as homes at Liverpool, Campsie, Carlingford, Hurstville and Chipping Norton on Wednesday afternoon after swooping on the drug deal at Arncliffe earlier in the day.

A total of seven people have been charged as a result of the work of Strike Force Nemo, targeting ice imports from Columbia, police say.

The latest raids follow arrests in August resulted in 40kg of ice being seized.

Police expect to make further arrests.

http://www.news.com.au/national/syd...-in-12m-ice-bust/story-fncynjr2-1226760085149
 

poledriver

Bluelighter
Joined
Jul 21, 2005
Messages
11,548
Playboy model Brandi Brandt extradited to Australia to face charges of drug importation

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FORMER Playboy model and actress Brandi Brandt will remain in custody after she was extradited to Australia to face drug importation charges.

Brandt, who is best known for marrying Motley Crue's bassist Nikki Sixx, arrived in Sydney from Los Angeles yesterday.

Brandt is accused of being involved with a cocaine importation syndicate that hid packages of the drug on Qantas and United Airlines planes that flew from California to Sydney.

It is alleged employees of an airline catering company collected the packages.

Documents filed at Central Local Court allege that between July and December, 2007, Brandt conspired to import a commercial quantity of cocaine and that she dealt with more than $130,000 in proceeds between July and November of the same year.

The 44-year-old remains in custody after appearing in Central Local Court yesterday. She did not apply for bail and is set to reappear next month.

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http://www.news.com.au/national/nsw...drug-importation/story-fnii5s3x-1226761404430
 
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