Three men have been arrested in Sydney as part of a joint Australian and United States investigation into an international drug syndicate.
The joint inquiries with the US Drug Enforcement Administration led to the seizure of 313 kilograms of methamphetamine, also known as ice, in Panama in October. Police will allege the drugs were bound for Australia.
Officers from Strike Force Connaught 2 also uncovered an alleged conspiracy to import 300 kilograms of cocaine from South America to Australia.
The cocaine and methamphetamine had a total estimated street value of $253 million.
On Tuesday, two men were arrested at a warehouse in Alexandria, while a third was arrested at a home in Coogee.
A 37-year-old man from Coogee was charged with two counts of importing a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, and direct activities of a criminal organisation.
A 60-year-old Strathfield man and a 64-year-old from Lilyfield were both charged with conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug.
Refused bail, they were due to appear in court later on Wednesday.
Five properties were also raided in Coogee, Lilyfield, Regents Park, Strathfield and Zetland, with officers seizing methamphetamine, mobile phones and more than $500,000 in cash.
Police also arrested a 24-year-old woman at the Zetland property and charged her with dealing in the proceeds of crime. She was granted bail and is due to face Downing Centre Local Court on January 11.
Strike Force Connaught 2 was set up in 2016 with detectives from the NSW Police force’s Organised Crime Squad, the NSW Crime Commission and the DEA to investigate a Sydney-based international organised crime syndicate.
Officers from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Australian Federal Police have also been working closely with the strike force.
NSW Police Force’s Director of Crime Operations, Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Smith said the joint partnership with other local and international law enforcement teams had been a success.
“[Our joint investigation] has uncovered some sophisticated attempts to bring narcotics through our borders and onto the streets of Sydney,” Chief Superintendent Smith said.
“Our joint investigations have ensured these attempts were only attempts; tonnes of these harmful substances have been seized and countless members of criminal syndicates arrested and put before the courts.”
The maximum penalty for importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs is life imprisonment.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald