THE NSW District court on Friday sentenced a 35-year-old man to 24 years in prison, with a non-parole period of 14 years, over his role in the criminal syndicate that attempted to import more than 1.9 tonnes of illicit drugs from the Netherlands in August 2017.

The man was extradited from Dubai in November 2019 to face court in Australia after his arrest in August 2017.

Operation Veyda was a major investigation, which dismantled two interlinked organised crime syndicates operating across Australia, the United Arab Emirates and Europe.

The Picnic Point man pleaded guilty in December 2020, to conspiracy to import commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs.

A total of 19 Australians have been charged as part of the investigation and more than $5.4 million seized as proceeds of crime. Five Dutch nationals were also arrested by the National Police of the Netherlands for their roles in the syndicate.

Operation Veyda included assistance from the New South Wales Police Force, UAE Ministry of Justice, the Dubai Public Prosecution Office, Dubai Police, the UAE Federal Customs Authority, Dubai Customs, the NPN, the National Public Prosecution Office of the Netherlands, and Royal Thai Police, along with Australian Border Force, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney-General’s Department.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Kirsty Schofield said this investigation sends a clear message to organised criminal groups that, no matter where you are in the world, you are not out of reach.

“The AFP maintains strong working relationships with international law enforcement partners to tackle transnational organised crime,” Assistant Commissioner Schofield said.

“We know the crippling effect illegal drugs, including MDMA, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine have on our communities. Stopping these drugs from entering our shores is a high priority for the AFP.”

Detective Inspector Tim Stainton said this extradition, guilty plea and subsequent sentencing of the offender signifies the strength of the partnership between the AFP and UAE authorities, particularly Dubai Police, and the collective commitment to work together to apprehend all serious offenders and put them before the court.

“This outcome should send a strong message to organised crime that the partnership between Australia and the UAE is stronger than ever and will continue to ensure a hostile global environment for them and their associates,” Detective Inspector Stainton said.

“The AFP thanks the United Arab Emirates for its ongoing support and commends the tireless efforts of Dubai Police, the Public Prosecutor of Dubai, and the UAE Ministry of Justice in successfully combatting the activities of transnational organised crime groups impacting upon both the UAE and Australia.”