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THE Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce arrested three men in Melbourne on Wednesday (27 July) and charged them with allegedly importing methamphetamine and pseudoephedrine into Australia.

The JOCTF arrested the trio following an investigation into a transnational organised crime syndicate allegedly attempting to import commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs and precursors into Victoria.

The JOCTF consists of members of the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, Australian Border Force, The Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF) has arrested three men in Melbourne yesterday (Thursday 27 July 2022) and charged them with allegedly importing methamphetamine and pseudoephedrine into Australia.

Investigators launched Operation Joondalup after intelligence identified the syndicate as being involved in attempting to import the illicit drugs and precursors from Malaysia and India.

During the investigation, investigators seized about 12 kilograms of pseudoephedrine, a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, as well as a small amount of methamphetamine.

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JOCTF officers arrested three men in Melbourne in connection to the alleged importations and raided several addresses in the Strathtulloh, Wallan and Truganina areas, resulting in the seizure of a large number of electronic devices and a large quantity of suspected 1,4-Butanediol.

A Strathtulloh man, 41, a Wallan man, 27, and a Truganina man, 23, have each been charged with two offences related to importing illicit drugs and one offence related to dealing with “money that would become an instrument of crime”.

The maximum penalty for the importation offences is twenty-five years imprisonment while the maximum penalty for the proceeds of crime offence is 10 years imprisonment.

Investigations remain ongoing and further charges are expected to be laid.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Jarrod Ragg said the JOCTF would continue its investigations following the arrest of the trio in Melbourne and would not rule out further charges.

“The AFP, together with our state and Commonwealth partners through the JOCTF, remain relentless in our commitment to target, disrupt and dismantle these criminal groups and bring these alleged offenders to justice,” he said.

Victoria Police Detective Superintendent Jacqueline Curran said this highlighted the work across all agencies to limit the harm caused to the Victorian community through the trafficking of drugs.

“We’ve made no secret of the fact that Victoria Police is determined to make Victoria a hostile place for organised crime and in particular, those who are engaged in the importation and trafficking of drugs. This result really highlights the pursuit of those offenders by all the agencies involved in this operation,” he said.

“Alongside our partner agencies, we will continue to target criminal syndicates and hold them to account. If you commit an offence, there is nowhere to hide, we will track you down.”

ABF Superintendent Uriah Turner said the investigation highlighted the importance of inter-agency cooperation in combatting illegal drug importations.

“The ABF, working closely with our law enforcement partners, is committed to combatting the scourge of illegal drug importation, and the harm this activity causes to the Australian community,” Supt Turner said.

“Drug use is not a victimless crime. These arrests demonstrate that strong partnerships can effectively prevent and disrupt organised crime syndicates attempting to import illicit substances into Australia.”​

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