12th December 12:14 AM
Man connected to organised crime figures involved in international drug smuggling through Fiji into Australia-New Zealand arrested in Sydney
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 02/12/2019
[image: Sydney Morning Herald]

A man connected to several organised crime figures arrested in New Zealand and Fiji who are responsible for transhipping illicit drugs through Fiji into Australia and New Zealand, has been arrested in Sydney.

The 45-year-old man from Burwood is due to appear before Sydney Central Local Court on Wednesday, charged with drug offences after he was arrested at Sydney Airport on Saturday.

The arrest was made possible after the Fiji Police Force intercepted two kilograms of cocaine bound for Sydney in July this year.

The Australian Federal Police allege the man is part of a criminal syndicate responsible for the importation of border controlled drugs into Australia and New Zealand.

Under the Pacific Transnational and Serious Organised Crime Taskforce arrangement, the multi-jurisdictional police investigation, involving the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Border Force, the New South Wales Police Force, the Fiji Police Force and the New Zealand Police, began in July.

The investigation uncovered similar attempts to import illicit substances and connecting the man to several organised crime figures arrested in New Zealand and Fiji who are responsible for taking illicit drugs through Fiji into Australia and New Zealand.

The man left Fiji for Europe and was arrested at Sydney International Airport upon his return to Australia. Following his arrest a search warrant was executed at his Burwood residence on Saturday. He has been charged with attempting to possess a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug. The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment.

Commissioner of Police, Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho says collaboration and the sharing of resources and intelligence is key to disrupting organised crime syndicates.

Qiliho says Fiji is pleased to play a role in interrupting international drug smuggling attempts, disrupting transnational crime groups trafficking dangerous and deadly drugs across the Pacific region.

He says the seizure reflects the Pacific Taskforce’s concerted efforts in protecting our Pacific region from the damage these illicit substances can cause.

AFP Detective Superintendent, Senior Officer Pacific, Glen Fisher says strong international partnerships are vital to stopping syndicates from importing drugs into Australia.

New Zealand Police Liaison Officer to the Pacific, Detective Inspector Suzanne Douglas said the cooperation and information sharing to target transnational crime is key reducing the harm from these organisations.

Inspector Douglas says Fiji Police, New Zealand Police and the AFP collaborated to target a transnational criminal syndicate transhipping cocaine and methamphetamine through the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia. She says this resulted in a number of arrests in Fiji, Australia and New Zealand.

She also says the cross country Transnational Serious Organised Crime Taskforce arrangement certainly proved the worth of close inter-jurisdictional cooperation and information sharing to target transnational organised crime in the Pacific and reduce the significant harm these organisations cause our communities.

ABF Acting Commander for Investigations Penelope Spies says transnational crime requires a transnational response, and the exchange of information and level of cooperation between the agencies has never been better.

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