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Sydney cop arrested in international drugs bust

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    Description:

    3 mins
    3 June 2008
    TV3 (NZ)

    One of Australia's top cops, a man whose job it was to reduce illegal drug trafficking, is in disgrace tonight. He is accused of masterminding an international drug plot that spanned three continents.

    Mark Standen, 51, was arrested as he sat at his desk at the headquarters of the New South Wales Crime Commission.

    A trusted officer involved in some of the country’s most sensitive police investigations, Standen has been unmasked as a major player in a Netherlands-based drug syndicate conspiring to import chemicals to make 'ice', or 'P' as it is called in New Zealand.

    "It is a very damaging blow to the Crime Commission, there is no doubt about that," says Philip Bradley, also of the NSW Crime Commission.

    Standen was an elite Sydney cop targeting drug trafficking and organised crime, arrested last night after a 12-month top secret surveillance operation by a dozen federal police officers.

    This morning he appeared in court along with a second man charged with offences that could jail them both for life.

    Police say the syndicate conspired to import chemicals for ice manufacturers via a complex supply route through Europe and Asia. It is alleged Standen supplied inside knowledge to evade port searches.

    Twelve people have been arrested in the Netherlands and a British national alleged to be the kingpin was arrested in Bangkok on Saturday.

    Police say the 600kg of pseudoephedrine never reached Australia.

    It could have produced around 480 kilograms of ice with a street value of around AU$120 million.

    Standen had a gambling problem, and his bosses knew it.

    "We kept him in that position in order to develop the evidence required for this prosecution," says Mr Bradley.

    The commission denies the arrest points to wider corruption, but it is bound to shake public confidence in Australia's law enforcement agencies.

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    Associated clip:
    Top Aussie cop faces up to 30 years in prison over drug ring

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