Almost $1 million of illicit drug cash forfeited after AFP investigation

A total of $949,500 seized from a Perth drug trafficker has been forfeited to the Commonwealth after an Australian Federal Police proceeds of crime investigation.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia has ordered the forfeiture of the cash, which the now convicted man handed to undercover police officers to purchase illicit drugs in suburban Perth early last year (2019).

As part of the investigation, the AFP’s Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) successfully applied to the courts to have the cash restrained as suspected proceeds of crime.

The CACT investigation resulted in the Supreme Court on Thursday (28 May 2020) ordering the $949,500 be forfeited to the Commonwealth pursuant to section 49 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth).

The court further ordered that the Commonwealth has leave to deal with the forfeited property immediately.

The financing of the drug operation remains under investigation by CACT.

AFP Detective Superintendent Investigations Timothy Underhill said the case showed the huge amounts of money involved in the illicit drug trade.

“Seizing cash linked to the distribution of drugs is an integral part of the AFP’s strategy to combat organised crime and prevent these harmful substances reaching our communities,” he said.

“Most serious and organised crime is motivated by greed and when you take away the profits you hit the offenders where it hurts most.

“A key objective for the AFP is to remove the financial incentives from crime and prevent offenders funding future illegal activities.

“In this case we also prevented illicit drugs reaching our community.

“This should send a strong message that we are working tirelessly to make Western Australia as hostile as possible for anyone who preys on our communities to make money.”

The seized funds will be deposited into the Confiscated Assets Account, which is managed by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) on behalf of the Commonwealth. The funds can be used to benefit the community through crime prevention, intervention or diversion programs, or other law enforcement initiatives.

The AFP-led CACT taskforce, which includes staff from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC, Australian Border Force and the Australian Taxation Office, was formed in 2011 as part of a multi-agency crackdown on criminal assets.

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