Sunday 23rd Sep, 2018

Smuggler extradited over shipping container coke bust

Photo: Australian Federal Police
Photo: Australian Federal Police

A 43-year-old NSW man was arrested and extradited from Serbia to face charges in connection with a shipment of cocaine that was discovered secreted in steel posts freighted to Sydney in a shipping container.

The man was arrested and detained in connection with Operation Amorgos, which started in April 2017. The operation resulted in ABF officers intercepting and examining a container which was found to contain 2576 blocks of cocaine worth up to $500m.

The man was arrested in Serbia on 16 January by local authorities and was extradited from Belgrade, arriving in Sydney earlier this week.

The AFP alleges the man used links he had to overseas businesses to facilitate the importation of 1.28 tonnes of cocaine.

ABF superintendent maritime and detained goods NSW Tony McSweeney said it was very satisfying to see the ABF’s work on the ground contribute to such a large seizure and subsequent investigation.

“This demonstrates that the well-oiled machine of whole-of-government law enforcement is empowered and capable to deal with highly-organised drug smuggling syndicates,” he said.

AFP Detective Superintendent Stephen Dametto, coordinator organised crime and cyber, thanked all agencies, both in Australia and internationally, for their work together to secure this outcome.

“We’ve been alive to the fact that crime does not respect borders, and we know that crippling these syndicates is not something that can be done alone,” he said.

“As organised crime groups push further offshore, the AFP and our international network follows. When agencies work together, the net of law enforcement grows wider and alleged organised crime figures soon realise they cannot be out of reach of Australian law enforcement.

Further liaison with Serbian authorities is still ongoing. While these processes take place, the AFP has no further details to provide about the status of two further Australian men currently in Serbia.

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