Mobile phone store manager charged after thousands of fraudulent SIM cards used by OCNs detected

Criminal Groups Squad detectives have charged the manager of a mobile phone store with almost 30 offences after he allegedly sold thousands of fraudulent SIM cards used to facilitate sales of cocaine and other illicit drugs.

In July 2021, detectives from the Criminal Groups Squad established Strike Force Sugarcane to investigate the activities of a south-west Sydney-based organised criminal network (OCN).

Their inquiries revealed the OCN was controlling a significant illicit drug distribution chain from importation through to street-level supply.

This included uncovering the operations of a sophisticated ‘dial-a-dealer’ syndicate, which was operating numerous mobile phones for the purpose of drug distribution and supply across NSW.

On Tuesday (24 May 2022), a large-scale police operation – coordinated by Taskforce Erebus – resulted in the arrest of 18 men in south-west Sydney for various drug supply, firearm, proceeds of crime and direct or participate criminal group offences. They remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, strike force detectives executed a criminal organisation search warrant at a business on South Street at Granville just after 10am yesterday (Thursday 26 May 2022).

During a subsequent search, police seized electronic devices, pre-activated SIM cards, fraudulent personal identification documents and other items for further forensic examination.

A 30-year-old man was arrested and taken to Granville Police Station and has since been charged with 27 counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, knowingly or recklessly direct criminal group assist crime, and knowingly derive material benefit from criminal group.

Police will allege in court the man provided several thousand pre-subscribed fraudulent SIM cards to persons involved in serious criminal offences throughout south-west Sydney, including members of the ‘Ready 4 War’ ‘dial-a-dealer’ cocaine supply syndicate.

He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today (Friday 27 May 2022).

Criminal Groups Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Grant Taylor, said Strike Force Sugarcane investigators have now turned their attention to those who enable serious organised crime.

“The men who we arrested earlier this week could not have facilitated their ongoing criminal exploits without the help of enablers and trusted insiders including the man before the court today,” Det Supt Taylor said.

“Most high-ranking members of that OCN have now fled overseas, are bail refused or subject to restrictive orders and conditions, so for police it is now about targeting those who enable and facilitate their offending.

“Investigators are working our way down the pyramid, and we’ve still got plenty more to come so please, watch this space,” Det Supt Taylor said.

Investigations under Strike Force Sugarcane continue.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Sugarcane investigators 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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