Man in Sydney charged with drug shipments western lawyer

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A Sydney man accused of importing illegal drugs through air cargo shipments claimed he could trust an official from an Australian border force for status updates. The 34-year-old, from Rose Bay, is said to be part of a criminal drug smuggling syndicate and is due to appear in Parramatta Local Court on Saturday. He came under the radar of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity in early 2020, when three separate shipments were found with around four, nine and 14 kg of cocaine. It will be alleged in court that the man told other union members that he had access to an ABF member who could provide updates on the status of drug shipments. Jaala Hinchcliffe, head of ACLEI, said the allegations that a corrupt ABF official had helped with the plot were serious. “Information obtained by law enforcement members can be extremely valuable to criminal entities, and corrupt behavior by law enforcement members will not be tolerated,” the integrity commissioner said in a statement. The man had also used publicly available, parcel tracking sites to check the cargo and report back, police claim. He is accused of using a phone subscribing to a fake name to track 62 shipments, six of which contained illegal drugs, including 14 kg of cocaine, 8.2 kg of heroin and 48.6 kg of methamphetamine. AFP Inspector Matthew Parsons said there is currently a high demand for illegal drugs in NSW, and syndicates regularly choose to send smaller shipments through air freight and mail flows to avoid detection. “Shipments of this size are not a surprise to law enforcement given the changes that organized crime syndicates have made in response to the current environment,” he said. The man’s home in Rose Bay was attacked Friday, with police seizing three encrypted electronic devices. He has since been charged with four counts of importing commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs, giving a maximum sentence of life in prison. Australian Associated Press

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