– An Asian organised crime boss arrested in a major police state and federal operation is suspected of engaging in drug trafficking and money laundering with Melbourne’s most prominent Calabrian crime figures.
Police swooped on the Melbourne-based international crime syndicate on Friday morning, arresting 27 people and seizing drugs with a street value of almost $30 million.
The syndicate head is believed to have forged ties with a diverse range of Melbourne-based crime groups, including figures with links to the city’s wholesale fruit and vegetable markets and others tied to the Chinese Triads.
The ease with which the syndicate head – who has been a police target for five years – dealt with different ethnic groups exposes the evolution of organised crime in Australia.
The swoop was part of a 12-month operation targeting the South- East Asian syndicate, which allegedly imported and trafficked large quantities of drugs into Australia.
Federal and Victorian Police seized 42 kilograms of heroin and methamphetamines, and more than $10 million is assets including $4 million in cash, residential properties worth $5 million, $600,000 in Crown Casino chips, jewellery worth $10,000, 99 designer handbags and wallets and a Lamborghini.
Commander David Sharpe of the Australian Federal Police said the 27 people arrested wee key players in the syndicate, and the items seized displayed extravagance and arrogance.
Law enforcement agencies in China, Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Hong Kong helped in the operation, Mr Sharpe said.
He said the drugs were manufactured in those countries, with Australia being the end point in the illicit trade.
The transportation of drugs between states was quite sophisticated, even using dummy fuel tanks installed in cars.
Police raided 37 Melbourne properties this week, targeting homes, warehouses, accountant offices and security boxes. Six people were arrested: a 49-year-old Tarneit man, a Balwyn man, 48, a Box Hill man, a 46-year-old Macleod woman, a 37-year-old Clayton South man and a Sunshine North man, 21. Charges include dealing in the proceeds of crime and importing and trafficking drugs.
Mr Sharpe said the would be more arrests.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner (Crime) Stephen Fontana said there had been a dramatic rise in availability of methamphetamines, commonly known as ice, in Melbourne and crushing the syndicate would dent the trade.
He said Australia was vulnerable to international drug syndicates.
Mr Sharpe could not say how long the group had been operating in Australia, but said there were pre-plastic Australian banknotes in the haul – Nick Mckenzie & Jared Lynch


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

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