Three Sydney men are due to appear before court, charged over a $900 million cocaine bust allegedly involving an international crime syndicate.
NSW Police, along with the NSW Crime Commission allege the men were involved in a conspiracy to supply three tonnes of the illegal drug throughout the state.
NSW Police have detailed an elaborate investigation which started early last year and allegedly uncovered a syndicate importing illicit drugs across Australia, North and South America.
NSW Police said it started when detectives from the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad received information relating to a person gambling a significant amount of money at a casino.
A joint investigation between NSW Police and the NSW Crime Commission codenamed Strike Force Jillabenan started looking into the large-scale supply of prohibited drugs — mainly cocaine — across NSW.
Police said detectives found a “significant” transnational crime syndicate behind the alleged smuggling ring, and started an international police operation with the United States Drug Enforcement Adminstration (DEA).
Acting on intelligence from NSW investigators, the United States Navy seized 870 kilograms of cocaine, after intercepting a boat off the coast of Colombia in October last year.
A second vessel was then intercepted by the US Coast Guard off the coast of Ecuador in April this year, with a further 900kg of cocaine seized.
Police allege both seizures formed part of a conspiracy to supply a total of 3,000kg of cocaine, which has a total estimated potential street value of $900 million.
Fake drugs used to lure alleged importers
NSW Police said Strike Force investigators made replicas of the items seized in April, which were then taken to a storage facility in the Lake Macquarie area in the Hunter region.
Police said a 42-year-old man from Mortdale in Sydney’s south was arrested with the help of the Tactical Operations Unit and PolAir after allegedly attempting to access the items in storage.
A second man, aged 37 from Rockdale in Sydney’s south, was then arrested by the Tactical Operations Unit at a car park nearby.
The pair were charged with several offences including conspiracy to supply a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs and participating in a criminal group.
The pair were refused bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court today.
A third man, aged 58, was arrested yesterday in Sans Souci in Sydney’s south following search warrants in several Sydney suburbs.
He was also refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today.