Op Ironside: Griffith man charged over 1.2 tonne cocaine import plot

A man from the southern NSW city of Griffith is scheduled to face Sydney Central Local Court today (29 June 2022) in relation to charges for his role in a plot to import 1.2 tonnes of cocaine to Australia from Ecuador in 2021.

A number of other men have been charged in relation to this failed venture, which was discovered by the AFP during Operation Ironside.

Operation Ironside East-Alicanto was launched in April 2021 to investigate suspected members of a multi-national organised crime syndicate involved in multiple ventures, including the plot to import the cocaine using a transfer between vessels at sea, which was scheduled to arrive in Australia in June 2021.

It will be alleged in court that the Griffith man, 36, gave $120,000 in cash on behalf of the syndicate to Sydney-based associates, which was then to be used to pay a crew of men to collect the cocaine from a vessel at sea and transport it back to the east coast of NSW.

AFP officers executed a search warrant in Tharbogang, near Griffith in southern NSW, on 26 May 2022, where are number of items were seized. These included encrypted devices, clothing, luggage, jewellery, and weapons such as an extendable baton and a bowie knife.

The man was issued a court attendance notice to appear in court today, where he will be charged with dealing in proceeds of crime, contrary to section 400.4(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is 20 years’ imprisonment.

AFP Commander Eastern Command Investigations Kate Ferry said one year on from Operation Ironside, the AFP continues to chase leads and will not hesitate to continue to lay criminal offences.

“The AFP is relentless in its pursuit to stop transnational serious organised criminals who flood Australia with drugs and weapons, and who wash billions of dollars through the Australian economy,” Commander Ferry said.

“While the focus is often on the principals of these criminal groups, it is vitally important to bring to account those who act as facilitators, as is alleged with this matter.”

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.