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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    A major cocaine ring has been dismantled in joint operations with Tahiti, Australian police said on Thursday, with a record 1.1 tonnes of cocaine worth hundreds of millions of dollars seized.

    Police listed 500kg (1,102 lbs) of cocaine seized on Christmas Day in Sydney, and previous seizures of 600kgs of cocaine intercepted by the French navy off Tahiti and 32kg of heroin in Fiji - all destined for the Australian market.

    "The size of that seizure collectively - 1.1 tonnes - makes it the largest cocaine seizure in Australian law enforcement history," Chris Sheehan, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) acting assistant commissioner, said.

    A former rugby player, a Bondi entrepreneur and several fishermen were among 15 men arrested during Operation Okesi. On Christmas night, police raided a ship at Sydney Fish Market and seized more than 500kg of cocaine estimated to be worth AUD162 million (£95m) as part of a two-and-a-half year investigation into a smuggling ring based in Chile.

    The Sydney Morning Herald reported they had used a shipping vessel named Dalrymple to ferry drugs between New South Wales (NSW) ports and a larger ship stationed out at sea that held drugs smuggled from Chile.

    In footage released by NSW Police, some of the 15 alleged offenders can be seen in handcuffs at a ship docked at the Sydney Fish Markets in Pyrmont. A further 600kg of cocaine destined for Australia, estimated to be worth about $197 million, was seized in Tahiti in March and 32kg of heroin in Fiji in December 2014.

    Operation Okesi, comprising officers from NSW Police, Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force, started more than two-and-a-half-years after police received a tip from a member of the public. Since then, five alleged importations by the sophisticated syndicate have been thwarted, police announced on Thursday.

    Mark Jenkins, NSW Police State crime commander, said on Thursday that all the drugs originated in South America before being transferred across the South Pacific by ship. Since the operation on Christmas night, where seven men were arrested, a further eight men were taken into custody in the following four days. Among the 15 men arrested in relation to the syndicate are a former Rugby League star and Bondi cafe king, local media reported.

    "The criminal syndicate that we have dismantled over the past few days was a robust, resilient and determined syndicate," Mr Sheenan said. "It's a significant hit... the entire group has been taken out," added Mr Jenkins. "It's quite a chunk out of the cocaine economy... over one tonne of drugs has been prevented from reaching the streets ... and harming the community."

    The arrested, 14 Australians and one New Zealander aged between 29 and 63 years, were charged with serious drug importation offences and all were refused bail. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs is life imprisonment. Mr Sheehan said the activity conducted in the past week was the culmination of a complex investigation which crossed domestic and international borders.

    He said: "We’ve stopped around a tonne of cocaine and a commercial quantity of heroin reaching the Australian community. Additionally, we’ve prevented future importations by apprehending 15 men for their alleged involvement in the criminal syndicate responsible for this attempted importation.

    "This operation is a clear indication that working together with our law enforcement and border protection partners is imperative in combating an increasingly complex, transnational criminal environment."

    Mr Jenkins said the joint operation proved law enforcement and border protection agencies do not rest when it comes to illicit drug importation – even at Christmas.

    "The dedication of all officers involved over the course of this investigation needs to be commended – especially those who sacrificed precious time with family and friends to ensure these dangerous drugs didn’t reach the streets," Mr Jenkins said.

    With high street prices attracting drug sellers to Australia, police said they made more than 18,000 imported drug seizures in the last year.

    By Chiara Palazzo - The Telegraph/Dec. 29, 2016
    Photo: Australian Police
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    This $260M ‘Cocaine Cowboy’ Lived His Entire Life Online

    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=53566&stc=1&d=1483127497[/IMGL]Helicopter rides, a Cobra sports car and a bikini model girlfriend were all part of the glamorous life caught on Instagram of one of the alleged members of Australia’s largest cocaine cartel.

    Tattooed muscleman Darren Mohr’s glittering lifestyle, which he documented on social media, shows him sunning himself in exclusive locations, flying around in a helicopter, at a yacht club during the Monaco Grand Prix, and posing with luxury cars, his girlfriend and his pet dog and macaw.

    His girlfriend is in no way implicated in the alleged drug importation.

    But Mohr’s high life all came to an end Tuesday when the 42-year-old was arrested and handcuffed on a footpath in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

    Mohr, who once owned a cafe which was featured on a hit reality show, is one of 15 men now in custody after police uncovered 1,100 pounds of cocaine on a boat in Sydney’s Parsley Bay.

    If convicted, all the men potentially face life imprisonment for the alleged plot to import $260 million of cocaine from South America.

    The massive drug plot came unstuck because police were tipped off by a member of the public who reported in 2014 that they had seen a man they believed was acting suspiciously.

    For the next 30 months, undercover detectives allegedly surveilled the men at more than a hundred meetings in Sydney cafes and parks.

    The Daily Telegraph revealed that at times more than a dozen police officers would watch key players using encrypted BlackBerries and talking in code as they allegedly plotted.

    Police claim the alleged drug cartel was bringing the cocaine in from Chile via Tahiti and was using fishing trawlers based at the Sydney Fish Market.[IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=53567&stc=1&d=1483127497[/IMGR]

    The men were arrested on Christmas Day and the three days thereafter in Sydney, Queensland and Tasmania.

    Police allege that in the lead-up to the arrests, the cartel members discussed map locations, recruits, drug finance and the movement of fishing vessels to transport the narcotics.

    Mohr was arrested along with 1980s Roosters rugby league player John Tobin, commercial fisherman Joe Pirello, Double Bay businessman Richard Lipton, fisherman Stuart Ayrton and a New Zealand citizen, Graham Toa Toa.

    The 15 men are in their 40s, 50s and 60s and include members of a well-respected fishing family.

    The joint operation to uncover the alleged drug plot included officers from the New South Wales Police, Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force.

    Police allege that the cartel members planned to send out the Sydney-based fishing trawlers to meet a larger ship carrying the drugs from Chile.

    NSW Police investigation co-ordinator Detective Chief Inspector Jason Smith described the lengthy police operation as extraordinary.

    “From my perspective, the success of this operation has been the tenacity of the entire team and all the *officers involved. They have been extraordinary,” he told the Telegraph.

    “My poor team has been the butt of many a joke as this investigation dragged on, often with little or no *results, but ultimately we can sit back quietly now and know that we were definitely onto something.”

    Police will allege a 70-pound shipment of cocaine was intercepted in Fiji, but this did not deter the group, which further conspired to import three shipments between 880 pounds and 1,300 pounds of cocaine from South America.

    The accused men are expected to next appear in a Sydney court in March.

    By News au/Dec. 30, 2016
    Photos: Instagram
    Newshawk Crew
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