The Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF) has arrested three men in Melbourne yesterday (Wednesday 27 July 2022) and charged them with allegedly importing methamphetamine and pseudoephedrine into Australia.
The JOCTF arrested the trio following an investigation into a transnational organised crime syndicate allegedly attempting to import commercial quantities of border controlled drugs and precursors into Victoria. The JOCTF consists of members of the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Department of Home Affairs.
Investigators launched Operation JOONDALUP after intelligence identified the syndicate as being actively involved in attempting to import the border controlled drugs and precursors from Malaysia and India. During the investigation, investigators seized approximately 12 kilograms of pseudoephedrine, a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, as well as a small amount of methamphetamine.
On Wednesday 27 July, 2022, JOCTF Officers arrested three men in Melbourne in connection to the alleged importations and executed a number of search warrants in the Strathtulloh, Wallan and Truganina areas, resulting in the seizure of a large number of electronic devices and a large quantity of suspected 1,4-Butanediol.
A Strathtulloh man, 41, a Wallan man, 27, and a Truganina man, 23, have each been charged with the following offences:
Importing a commercial quantity of border controlled pre-cursor chemicals contrary to subsection 307.11.1 (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
Importing a marketable quantity of border-controlled drugs contrary to subsection 307. 2(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
Dealing with money that would become an instrument of crime, contrary to section 400.6(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
The maximum penalty for importation offences is twenty-five years imprisonment while the maximum penalty for the proceeds of crime offence is 10 years imprisonment.
Investigations remain ongoing and further charges are expected to be laid.
The men appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 27 July, 2022.
AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Jarrod Ragg said the JOCTF would continue its investigations following the arrest of the trio in Melbourne and would not rule out further charges.
“The AFP, together with our state and Commonwealth partners through the JOCTF, remain relentless in our commitment to target, disrupt and dismantle these criminal groups and bring these alleged offenders to justice.”
Victoria Police Detective Superintendent Jacqueline Curran said this highlighted the work across all agencies to limit the harm caused to the Victorian community through the trafficking of drugs.
“We’ve made no secret of the fact that Victoria Police is determined to make Victoria a hostile place for organised crime and in particular, those who are engaged in the importation and trafficking of drugs. This result really highlights the pursuit of those offenders by all the agencies involved in this operation.”
“Alongside our partner agencies, we will continue to target criminal syndicates and hold them to account. If you commit an offence, there is nowhere to hide, we will track you down.”
ABF Superintendent Uriah Turner said the investigation highlighted the importance of inter-agency cooperation in combatting illegal drug importations.
“The ABF, working closely with our law enforcement partners, is committed to combatting the scourge of illegal drug importation, and the harm this activity causes to the Australian community,” Supt Turner said.
“Drug use is not a victimless crime. These arrests demonstrate that strong partnerships can effectively prevent and disrupt organised crime syndicates attempting to import illicit substances into Australia.”