A man who was allegedly caught importing heroin into Australia for a large network that has been broken up by police will spend a second night behind bars in Sydney tonight.
Three men were arrested yesterday as part of an operation that has seized more than 200 kilograms of ice and heroin, thought to be worth $50 million.
Ewe Khiam Quah, 39, was arrested at Campsie, in Sydney's west.
He did not apply for bail when his case was mentioned at Central Local Court today and his lawyer told the magistrate he speaks Hokkien, a dialect native to many Chinese who live in Southeast Asia.
The lawyer said there is only one Sydney court interpreter fluent in Hokkien and he has been asked to be available in three months when the matter returns to court.
The court heard there are hundreds of intercepted phone calls to be used as evidence.
Yesterday police carried out searches in six Sydney suburbs around the west and inner west, also arresting a 39-year-old at Homebush and a 26-year-old at Strathfield.
They are both accused of manufacturing drugs.
The men were remanded in custody in court yesterday and will return to court today.
The investigation into gun and drug trafficking called Strike Force Ballista began in May last year, headed by the NSW Police Asian Crime Squad and the NSW Crime Commission.
It was looking at a high-level organised crime network involved in drug and gun trafficking.
In February this year, investigators teamed up with others from the Australian Crime Commission, federal police and Customs.
Last month they uncovered 150 kilograms of ice and 69 kilograms of heroin and arrested two men.
NSW Police Force Organised Crime Director, Detective Acting Chief Superintendent Scott Cook says a large amount of drugs and weapons have been removed from the community.
"These results were only achieved through the close co-operation between the various law enforcement agencies, and we will continue to build on those relationships," he said in a statement.
"Together with our partners, the Asian Crime Squad continues to adapt to the changing criminal environment to ensure those participating in organised crime are arrested and put before the courts."
Police say drug precursors valued at $1.2 million and more than $100,000 cash have also been seized, and a total of 17 people have been arrested.
July 10, 2013 | ABC News