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'Serious player' in Australia's criminal underbelly is arrested over $80m drug trafficking syndicate

Source: Daily Mail UK

  • International fugitive arrested in South Australia over $80million drug syndicate

  • The 47-year-old is the alleged mastermind of a dangerous drug trafficking ring

  • He is facing dozens of charges relating to trafficking and money laundering

  • The NSW man was also the subject of an investigation by the FBI in the US

An international fugitive described as a 'significant player' in Australia's underworld has been arrested for his alleged role in bringing $80million worth of drugs into the country.

The 47-year-old man from New South Wales was arrested on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia on Sunday afternoon and charged with a string of trafficking offences relating to the importation of methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, cannabis, as well as money laundering.

Detectives attached to Operation Ironside detained the man who fled Australia in April, 2021 after 50kilograms of meth was found inside a truck in Port Wakefield.

His alleged syndicate was uncovered by the Australian Federal Police's through the fake encrypted messaging app AN0M - set up by US and Australian authorities to spy on organised crime networks.

Police will allege the man was the kingpin of the international crime syndicate, with the FBI also investigating him.

The drug kingpin allegedly masterminded the sophisticated operation, which saw between $60million and $80million worth of methamphetamine shipped into Australia.

He also allegedly oversaw the illegal importation of kilograms of cocaine, thousands of ecstasy pills, kilograms of ecstasy powder and 'millions of dollars' worth of cannabis.

He will face 15 counts of trafficking a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug, nine counts of trafficking a commercial quantity of a controlled drug, 17 counts of money laundering and five counts of trafficking a controlled drug.

He appeared briefly in Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday morning and has been remanded in custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Darren Fielke said the groundbreaking arrest is just the latest in a string of high-profile busts.

'We know that this man fled Australia in order to avoid detection and continue to conduct his nefarious criminal activities,' he said.

'We know that there are people who open the door to facilitate organised crime… all of these people are on our radar.

'We'll look at ever level of organised crime and seek to take it out. This arrest should send a message to all individuals who choose a path of becoming involved in any aspect organised crime.

'SAPOL and law enforcement partners both in Australia and overseas will leave no stone unturned to locate and bring to justice those involved in organised crime and who heap misery on the community through the trafficking of drugs.'

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