Mascot Man and Accomplice Face Court Over 241kg Drug Haul Seized by Australian Authorities

Australia, Police

In a joint operation, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), New South Wales Police Force (NSWPF), and the Australian Border Force (ABF) successfully shut down a global drug importation ring, resulting in the arrest of two men allegedly involved in the crime.

The men, aged 39 and 23, are set to face court today over their alleged involvement in smuggling 211kg of cocaine and 30kg of ketamine into Sydney.

This investigation, dubbed Operation Drake, began in December 2022 after the AFP received intelligence regarding a criminal syndicate importing cocaine concealed inside refrigerated shipping containers.

AFP and NSWPF Organised Crime Squad worked together to track down a Mascot man, 39, believed to be a facilitator for the criminal network.

Authorities allege that the man coordinated the drug imports into Australia and orchestrated three separate cocaine imports, with a combined street value of $68,575,000.

In March 2024, the suspect was allegedly caught organising a fourth importation attempt, involving 30kg of ketamine concealed within three commercial vehicles.

Acting on this information, investigators identified a cargo carrier transporting the vehicles.

ABF officers examined the vehicles and found the drugs hidden under the seats.

The AFP then replaced the ketamine with a harmless substance and conducted a controlled delivery of the drugs inside a van to a Maroubra carpark.

Soon after, AFP officers arrested a man from Angus, 23, who was allegedly involved in an attempt to possess a commercial quantity of unlawfully imported border-controlled drugs.

At the same time, police arrested the Mascot man while in possession of a dedicated encrypted communications device and seized additional currency and mobile phones.

Police charged the Mascot man with four counts of attempting to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, while the Angus man was charged with one count of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of an unlawfully imported border-controlled drug.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Commander Kate Ferry of the AFP said that these illicit drugs cause psychological, financial, and social harm, emphasizing the importance of collaboration between law enforcement to disrupt attempts by organized crime to import large quantities of drugs into Australia.