Further three charged after $50 million cocaine seizure – Organised Crime Squad

A further three people have been charged by Organised Crime Squad detectives following a transnational police operation which dismantled an alleged criminal syndicate involved in the importation of prohibited drugs into NSW.

Earlier this year, Operation PHOBETOR – a joint squad combining the NSW Police Force (NSWPF), Australian Federal Police (AFP), and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) – in partnership with Australian Border Force (ABF), the United Kingdom National Crime Agency (UKNCA), and the United Kingdom Border Force (UKBF) – commenced investigations into a criminal syndicate suspected to be involved in the importation of prohibited drugs.

Their inquiries uncovered an airfreight consignment which was found to contain 125kg of cocaine concealed within the base of an industrial generator.

The total estimated street value of the drugs is $50 million.

As part of ongoing inquiries, three men – two aged 29, and a 32-year-old – were arrested during a police operation in Sydney’s south-west earlier this year.

Additionally, a further three men – aged 29, 42 and 43 – were simultaneously arrested across London by the United Kingdom’s NCA. All remain before the courts.

Since that time, further inquiries into the syndicate have been conducted by Organised Crime Squad detectives under Strike Force Coxed.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives executed three search warrants in Bidwill, Hassall Grove, and Bonnyrigg Heights, from 6am yesterday (Wednesday 12 October 2022).

Detectives were assisted by Bass Hill Region Enforcement Squad (RES) and North West Metropolitan Operations Support Group (OSG).

During subsequent searches, police located and seized a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum revolver, more than $220,000 cash, 250 grams of methylamphetamine, an Audi RS Q3, and other items relevant to the investigation.

All seized items will undergo further forensic examination.

Two men, aged 25 and 27, and a woman, aged 27, were arrested during the operation and taken to Mt Druitt and Fairfield Police Stations.

A 27-year-old Bonnyrigg man has been charged with supply prohibited drug more than indictable amount, possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit, and deal with property proceeds of crime less than $100,000.

He was refused bail and appeared at Fairfield Local Court yesterday, where he was formally refused bail to reappear the same court on Tuesday 1 November 2022.

A 25-year-old Bidwill man has since been charged with four counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime intent to conceal, two counts of supply prohibited drug more than indictable amount, possess unregistered firearm-pistol, possess unauthorised pistol, possess ammunition without holding licence, and not keep firearm safely-pistol.

He was refused bail to appear at Mount Druitt Local Court today (Thursday 13 October 2022).

A 27-year-old Hassall Grove woman has been charged with two counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime intent to conceal, recklessly deal with proceeds of crime more than $5,000, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and possess identity info to commit indictable offence.

She was granted conditional bail to appear at Mt Druitt Local Court on Wednesday 2 November 2022.

Inquiries continue.

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

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