17 ar­rested in three-coun­try drug sweep

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

SYD­NEY — Po­lice in three coun­tries ar­rested 17 peo­ple on Tues­day and seized nearly 2 tons of drugs in con­nec­tion with what Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties said was an ef­fort by or­ga­nized-crime groups to trans­port large amounts of drugs into Aus­tralia.

Ten peo­ple in Syd­ney, five Aus­tralians in Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates, and two peo­ple in the Nether­lands were ar­rested as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into what Aus­tralian po­lice say were two in­ter­linked crime syn­di­cates op­er­at­ing across the three coun­tries. Of­fi­cials in the Nether­lands seized

1.8 tons of MDMA, also known as Ec­stasy, 300 pounds of co­caine and 30 pounds of crys­tal metham­phetamine, all bound for Aus­tralia, Aus­tralia’s fed­eral po­lice said.

“We will al­lege that the two syn­di­cates have long been in­volved in or­ga­niz­ing high-vol­ume im­ports of il­le­gal sub­stances into Aus­tralia, and laun­der­ing mil­lions of dol­lars and deal­ing in the pro­ceeds of crime, both do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally,” said Neil Gaughan, as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner of the fed­eral po­lice.

The five Aus­tralians ar­rested in Dubai were ex­pected to be ex­tra­dited to Aus­tralia within the next 60 days, Gaughan said. Those ar­rested in Syd­ney face a va­ri­ety of charges, in­clud­ing con­spir­acy to im­port a com­mer­cial quan­tity of drugs, which car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of life in prison.

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