Sydney man caught over $ 64 million in cocaine import
A Sydney man is the latest to be caught in the ‘bite of the century’ after being caught orchestrating the import of $ 64 million worth of cocaine via a juice tanker.
The 41-year-old was arrested in connection with Operation Ironside, which uncovered murder plots, arms purchases and mass drug trafficking through a secretly encrypted online platform supervised by the US FBI.
Surveillance of the “ANoM” communications platform has led to the arrest of more than 220 Australian organized crime figures since 2018, with Australian Federal Police calling it “the sting of the century”.
Police said the Bondi man had planned to smuggle the 216kg of cocaine into New South Wales by hiding it in the hull of a juice tanker destined for the state since Brasil.
He was arranging for a team of divers to retrieve the drugs from the bottom of the ship upon arrival in Australia, they say, when he was intercepted in Belgium on June 21.
“Our highly trained Australian Border Force officers were able to identify the vessel, its intended movements and the likely location of the drug concealment based on little information,” ABF Superintendent Alex O said on Saturday. ‘Brien.
Authorities found three bags full of cocaine inside the ship’s trunk.
The man was arrested Friday morning and charged with leading a criminal group, conspiring to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug and possessing a prohibited weapon.
He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The man was denied bail and will then appear in court on June 30.
A second man, currently in custody awaiting trial on unrelated charges, will face additional charges for the cocaine bust.