Two members of a criminal syndicate arrested in 2019 for importing 228 kilograms of cocaine into Sydney have been sentenced to 28 and 23 years’ imprisonment respectively.
The two men were arrested in Sydney in May 2019 for importing cocaine into Australia via commercial flights from South Africa on 12 different occasions between June 2016 and the date of their arrest. Each importation contained approximately 19 kilograms of cocaine, totaling approximately 228 kilograms of pure cocaine.
The combined value of the cocaine is estimated to worth more than $70 million wholesale.
The men were the subject of joint operation involving the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), the NSW Police Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), which began in January 2018 to target the activities of the alleged criminal syndicate.
Extensive investigations revealed a 53-year-old Oran Park man – an employee of a Sydney International Airport service provider – was using his airside access to import cocaine through the baggage holds of commercial flights.
The man was arrested on 22 May 2019, where he was found in possession of a bag containing approximately 24 kilograms of cocaine.
A 49-year-old Moorebank man was arrested on the same day outside his house for his role in facilitating and receiving imports of illegal drugs from the Oran Park man.
Approximately $4.6 million in cash was seized at a Hoxton Park location linked to the Oran Park man with a total seized during the investigation of approximately $6.7 million, investigators believing it to be the proceeds of the drug imports.
Both men plead guilty to participating in the business of importing commercial quantities of border controlled drugs and dealing with money that was, and that they believed, to be the proceeds of crime.
The 53-year-old Moorebank man was sentenced to 28 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 17 years.
The 49-year-old Oran Park man was sentenced to 23 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 14 years.
In February 2021, a 45-year-old from Middleton Grange – who was arrested in April 2019 for his role in assisting the other two men in the syndicate – was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years and six months.