A 55-year-old truck driver appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday over his alleged role in importing more than 160 kilograms of cocaine into Victoria.
The Melbourne truck driver is the sixth person charged with the $ 40 million drug shipment, which was seized by Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force officers following Operation Ironside before it cannot reach the community.
AFP launched Operation IRONSIDE SOUTH-BRITANNIC after intercepting messages about a large-scale import of cocaine to Melbourne, via Sydney, from Hong Kong at the end of May 2021.
It is alleged that a transnational criminal syndicate operating out of Hong Kong and Turkey was using encrypted communications to coordinate the shipment, estimated at more than $ 40 million, via a criminal syndicate leader in Sydney.
AFP investigators, with help from ABF, were able to intercept the cocaine – which was concealed in air filters – when the shipment arrived in Melbourne on May 31.
The alleged Australian coordinator of the transnational organized crime syndicate, a 41-year-old man from Sydney, and four Victorian-era men were indicted in June over their alleged roles in the importation.
The 55-year-old was accused yesterday of aiding and abetting the importation of a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs. The maximum penalty for this offense is life imprisonment.
Police allege that between April 27 and June 4, the man used his position as a truck driver to distract authorities and aid the alleged criminal union leader in the planned importation of cocaine.
AFP Southern Command Detective Superintendent Anthony Hall said police will continue to relentlessly pursue anyone who uses their work or position in the community to allow drug trafficking or other criminal activity.
“The drugs that these transnational organized crime syndicates bring to Australia are facilitated by trusted insiders who abuse the access and influence they have in their jobs, as the accused is alleged to have in this case.” , said Detective Superintendent Hall.
“This abuse of industry knowledge and access to the means to be able to play a facilitating role within the criminal syndicate allows drugs to be sold on the streets of every major city and in our regional towns.
“The cumulative result of their insidious criminal activity is that drugs are sold to our children and vulnerable people in our communities. Their actions increase the availability of illicit and harmful drugs that fuel addiction, which fuels domestic and family violence, pushing our hospitals, police departments and social welfare services to a breaking point.
“We work closely with all of our partners to bring to justice anyone who seeks to harm our communities. “
ABF Acting Deputy Commissioner James Watson highlighted the impact of law enforcement collaboration.
“The ongoing arrests are a testament to the tremendous impact of cooperation between law enforcement agencies,” Deputy Commissioner Watson said.
“ABF is working closely with AFP and industry to identify and eliminate those who seek to exploit their position of trust within the supply chain. My message to these people is simple: we have you in our sights.