A 24-year-old man who allegedly buried and dug up bags containing methamphetamine and cash in bushland around suburban Perth has been charged by the Australian Federal Police with drug trafficking and money laundering.
The Willetton man is expected to appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court today (Wednesday, 7 April 2021), following his arrest yesterday morning shortly after he left a Winthrop bush site.
AFP investigators searched his car after arresting him at his Joondalup workplace and allegedly found approximately $17,000 cash in a black backpack in the front passenger foot well, as well as a small hand shovel and gardening gloves covered in sand.
The man had allegedly collected the cash from a hiding spot in Winthrop.
Police will allege the 24-year-old had also buried a blue duffle bag containing approximately 10 kilograms of methamphetamine in scrub near an Edgewater park last month, before it was allegedly collected by a senior Hells Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang member.
The 24-year-old was under police surveillance on 18 March 2021 when he spent time in scrubland in Queens Park, allegedly entering with a large bag that appeared empty and leaving with a bag that looked full.
Police were also watching later that day, when he allegedly purchased two dark blue duffle bags from a Joondalup store.
The man later took a blue duffle bag to the Edgewater bush and returned to his car without a bag, police will allege.
A short time later, AFP officers swooped and arrested a 53-year-old Hells Angels member after he allegedly dug up a blue duffle bag containing methamphetamine at the same spot.
AFP investigators later searched the area of bush in Queens Park where the 24-year-old had been and allegedly found a bag containing five kilograms of methamphetamine buried in a shallow hole.
They seized the drugs and allege that is also where the 10 kilograms of drugs were buried before being moved to Edgewater.
Police also searched the man’s home yesterday, where they allegedly found a cash counting machine and other evidence linked to the alleged offending, including hand-written notes.
The man has been charged with two counts of trafficking a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, namely methamphetamine, contrary to section 302.2(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
This offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and relates to the 10 kilogram and the five kilogram seizures.
He has also been charged with dealing with money believed to be the proceeds of an indictable crime, and that money being more than $10,000, contrary to section 400.6(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
AFP Senior Constable Bennett Pluss said this operation stopped meth from reaching our community that could have potentially been sold to 150,000 people in ‘street deals’, and prevented criminals profiting from the illicit drug trade.
“Methamphetamine use causes immense harm – it is linked to other crimes including assaults and robberies, and any driver impaired by this substance is a danger to everyone else on the roads,” Senior Constable Bennett Pluss said.
“This amount of meth could have netted up to $15 million dollars at current Perth prices and the network involved in its distribution would have cared only about those potential profits.
“We will continue to make life as tough as possible for anyone involved in the illicit drug trade by seizing the drugs, taking their dirty cash and putting them before the courts.”