Two men have been arrested over the alleged trafficking of exotic animals and protected Australian fauna following a joint investigation by Strike Force Raptor detectives and Commonwealth Department of Agricultural, Water and Environment enforcement officers.
Last year, detectives from the Criminal Groups Squad’s Strike Force Raptor commenced an investigation into alleged money laundering offences relating to the unlawful trafficking of exotic animals and protected Australian fauna.
Detectives have also been assisted throughout the investigation by the Department of Agricultural, Water and Environment (DAWE), NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
During the course of the investigation, officers uncovered a criminal syndicate involved in the illegal trade of native and exotic fauna across Australia, Canada, Asia and the United States of America.
Detectives also uncovered criminal activity including large-scale fraud and money laundering.
Since the investigation began, Strike Force Raptor detectives have charged two men with trafficking protected animals.
Following extensive inquiries, officers executed six search warrants at homes at East Hills, Petersham, Greystanes, Riverstone, Whalan and Albion Park Rail from 6am today (Wednesday 24 June 2020).
During the searches, officers located several native and exotic animals including Australian magpies, a Death Adder, a Red-bellied Black Snake, a Python, lizards and turtles.
All of the animals will be seized by authorised wildlife handlers.
Investigators also seized mobile phones, computers and electronic storage devices, which will undergo forensic examination.
A 55-year-old man was arrested at the East Hills home and taken to Bankstown Police Station.
A 27-year-old man was arrested at the Greystanes home and taken to Granville Police Station.
Investigations are continuing and charges are expected to be laid.
Strike Force Raptor was established in 2009 and conducts proactive investigations and intelligence-based, high-impact policing operations to prevent and disrupt conflicts, and dismantle any network engaged in serious organised criminal activity.
Anyone with information, including relevant photos and videos, that may assist Strike Force Raptor can report it directly to investigators via the Strike Force Raptor online reporting page: https://www1.police.nsw.gov.au/Default.aspx?id=49 or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Information provided to investigators will be treated in the strictest of confidence.