The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) has charged a NSW man following an investigation into historic incursion to a foreign state and engagement in hostile activities.
In 2019, members of the NSW JCTT – comprising the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission – received information relating to a man’s travel to Syria to engage in hostile activities.
Operation Mikhof was subsequently commenced to investigate the circumstances surrounding the man’s travels to Syria in 2012, as well as his activities whilst overseas.
During the course of Operation Mikhof, investigators also uncovered links to the supply of illicit tobacco, and credit card skimming, cloning and associated frauds.
Following extensive inquiries, a 44-year-old man was arrested by the Tactical Operations Unit in a carpark at Mount Lewis about 9.40am yesterday (Friday 24 April 2020).
Shortly after the arrest, NSW JCTT officers, assisted by the Public Order and Riot Squad, executed a search warrant at home at Punchbowl.
During the search, investigators seized electronic devices and other items relevant to the investigation.
The man was taken to Liverpool Hospital for treatment to minor injuries sustained during the arrest before being returned to Bankstown Police Station, where he was charged with two counts of engage in hostile activity in a foreign state and seven counts of publish false misleading material to obtain property.
Police will allege in court that the man travelled to Syria to fight with Jabhat al-Nusra – now more commonly known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – a prescribed terrorist organisation, for months at a time in 2012 and 2013.
He was also charged with two counts of obtain property by deception, and knowingly deal with the proceeds of crime.
These charges relate to his alleged involvement in the supply and purchase of illicit tobacco, as well as actual and attempted credit card fraud.
He has been refused bail to appear at Parramatta Bail Court today (Saturday 25 April 2020).
Investigations under Operation Mikhof are continuing.
Anyone with information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community should come forward, no matter how small or insignificant you may think the information may be. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123 400.
Further, information relating to any criminal activity in the community can be reported to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.