Financier charged as investigations continue into conspiracy to supply $900 million of cocaine

NSW Police Force detectives have charged an alleged financier as part of ongoing investigations into a organised criminal syndicate involved in a conspiracy to supply three tonnes of cocaine throughout NSW.

In early 2020, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad received information relating to an individual gambling a significant amount of money at a casino.

Those inquiries led to the establishment of Strike Force Jillabenan, a joint investigation with the NSW Crime Commission, to investigate the large-scale supply of prohibited drugs – mainly cocaine – across NSW.

During the course of the investigation, detectives uncovered a significant transnational organised crime syndicate facilitating the importation of illicit drugs, operating across Australia and North and South America.

A collaborative international police operation was subsequently commenced between Strike Force Jillabenan investigators, with assistance from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Acting on intelligence information from NSW Police Force investigators, the United States Navy (USN) seized 870kg of cocaine, after intercepting a vessel travelling in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Colombia in October last year.

Following further inquiries by the NSW Police Force, the United States Coast Guard seized a further 900kg of cocaine, after intercepting a second vessel travelling off the coast of Ecuador in April this year.

Police will allege in court that both seizures formed part of a conspiracy to supply a total of 3000kg of cocaine – including the 1770kg seized – which has a total estimated potential street value of $900 million.

As part of ongoing inquiries, Strike Force Jillabenan investigators constructed a replica of the items seized in April, which was taken to a storage facility in the Lake Macquarie area.

On Thursday 3 June 2021, NSW Police conducted a coordinated operation across Sydney and Lake Macquarie and arrested and charged three men – aged 37, 42 and 58. They remain before the courts

As part of that operation, a search warrant was executed by Strike Force Jillabenan investigators, with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police, at a home at Bayview.

During the search, police seized cash – AUD$62,700 and USD$12,000 – four mobile phones, two of which were encrypted; an ounce of cocaine, steroids and jewellery.

A fourth man – aged 33 – was arrested at the home and taken to Manly Police Station, where he was charged with possess/attempt to, anabolic or androgenic steroidal agent, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, supply prohibited drug, and contravene requirement in section 3LA order.

The Bayview man was refused bail and re-appeared at Central Local Court today (Wednesday 16 June 2021), where Strike Force Jillabenan detectives laid an additional charge of conspiracy to import commercial quantity of border-controlled drug.

Police will allege in court that the man was the sole financier of the second shipment of cocaine (900kg with an estimated potential street value of $270 million).

Investigations by Strike Force Jillabenan detectives are continuing.

Anyone with information relating to the importation or supply of illicit drugs is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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