The masterminds of an Australian-based criminal syndicate have today been collectively sentenced to a total of 31 years and eight months behind bars, after an Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation smashed a major drug trafficking ring in Melbourne in 2018.
A 34-year-old Maidstone man, the ringleader of the onshore syndicate and a 34-year-old Maribyrnong man, his senior associate, were convicted over conspiring to traffick commercial quantities of methamphetamine and heroin, along with dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The court heard the syndicate had conspired to traffick a commercial quantity of methamphetamine and heroin between 31 May 2018 and 21 September 2018.
The duo were sentenced after facing the Melbourne County Court today (Friday 21 August 2020). The Maidstone man was sentenced to 18 years and 8 months with non-parole period of 12 years and 10 months. While the Maribyrnong man was handed a 13 year sentence with a non-parole period of 8 years and 4 months.
AFP detectives launched their investigation into the criminal syndicate operating in Melbourne’s western suburbs in May 2018. Between Thursday 20 September 2018 and Monday 24 September 2018 detectives executed a series of search warrants across Aberfeldie, Delahey, Footscray, Maidstone, Maribyrnong, St Albans, Sunshine North, Truganina and Yarraville.
Five men were arrested, including the two 34-year-old men sentenced today. As part of the search warrants police uncovered a cannabis grow house operated by the syndicate and seized more than 4 kilograms of methamphetamine and 2.5 kilograms of heroin. Investigators also seized more than $200,000 in cash, encrypted mobile phones, firearms and a Lamborghini sports car during the search warrants.
Two additional members of the same syndicate were this month also sentenced over their roles with:
• A 35-year-old Footscray man charged with trafficking and conspiracy to traffick a controlled drug was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 8 years and 2 months.
• A 35-year-old Delahey man charged with conspiracy to traffick and trafficking a commercial quantity of methamphetamine and heroin, was sentenced to 10 years and 2 months in jail with a non-parole period of 7 years and 2 months.
The AFP, through the AFP led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT), has restrained more than $20 million in assets relating to the syndicate and its criminal operations. These include real property, cash and account funds, high-end motor vehicles and custom number plates, luxury watches and accessories, and a series of investment interests in real estate developments in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The value of assets forfeited to the Commonwealth to date is some $1.5 million.
Funds from the forfeited property are deposited into the Confiscated Assets Account, which can be used to benefit the community through crime prevention, intervention or diversion programs, or other law enforcement initiatives.
The CACT, 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.