TWO members of a criminal syndicate arrested in 2019 for importing 228 kilograms of cocaine into Sydney have been sentenced to 28 and 23 years in jail.

Investigations revealed one man, an employee of a Sydney international service provider was using his airside access to import cocaine through the baggage holds of commercial flights.

The two men were arrested for importing cocaine into Australia via commercial flights from South Africa on 12 different occasions between June 2016 and May 2019.

Each importation contained approximately 19 kilograms of the drug, equating to around 228 kilograms of pure cocaine, with a combined value estimated at more than $70 million wholesale.

The men were the subject of a joint operation involving the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, the NSW Police Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, and the Department of Home Affairs.

The operation began in January 2018 to target the activities of the alleged criminal syndicate.

The 53-year-old Oran Park man was arrested on being found in possession of a bag containing around 24 kilograms of cocaine.

On the same day, a 49-year-old Moorebank man was arrested outside his house for facilitating and receiving imports of illegal drugs from the Oran Park man.

Approximately $4.6 million in cash was seized at a Hoxton Park location linked to the Oran Park man.

The total seized during the investigation equated to $6.7 million, believed to be the proceeds of the drug imports.

Both men plead guilty to participating in the business of importing commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs and dealing with money that was the proceeds of crime.  

The 53-year-old was sentenced to 28 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 17 years, and the 49-year-old received a 23-year sentence with a non-parole period of 14 years.

In February last year another man from Middleton Grange was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for assisting the other two members of the crime syndicate.