Bodies of Cory Breton, 28, and Iuliana Triscaru, 31, found inside metal box pulled from Logan dam


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Two bodies found in ‘large metal box’ following disappearance of Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru

Two bodies have been found inside a “large metal box” in a dam in Brisbane’s south during the search for missing Logan pair Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru.

A police spokesman wouldn’t confirm if bodies had been found however he said police had been searching for a steel box about 2m x 5m, which had since been found at a Kingston address.

At a press conference earlier today Detective Supt Dave Hutchinson stated: “We have located just after 8am this morning a large metal box submerged in one of the dams.“

“We’re still in the process of removing that box. It’s still in the dam at this point so we haven’t been able to open the box however we do fear that the box will contain the bodies of the two missing persons.”


The “large metal box” has since been removed by police. Source: 7 News.

Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru have been missing for two and a half weeks.

A large scale police search has been under-way today at Mudgee st, Kingston near Scrubby Creek for the missing two.

The remains will be subject to post-mortem examinations and positive identification.


The huge search efforts have continued today. Source: 7 News.

Six people have been charged with murder following an investigation into the disappearance the two.

Two men and a woman charged with murder made a brief appearance in court this morning.

Lawyers for Webbstar Latu, 31, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 21, and Ngatokoona Mareti, 36, described them as ‘associates’ and not friends during court.

Mareti’s lawyer said she was ‘devastated and shocked’.

A 24-year-old Logan Central man, another 21-year-old man and a 22-year-old man of no fixed address have also been charged with two counts of murder.

The lawyer for one of the people charged, a 36-year-old woman, said she has seven children.

Overnight four people assisted police following the mysterious disappearance of the south east Queensland pair.

Two men were arrested after police intercepted a vehicle on the Gateway Motorway at Belmont just before 5pm yesterday.

Police allegedly located a quantity of methylamphetamine during a search of the vehicle.

A spokesman said the three were assisting police with their inquiries into the disappearance of Breton, 28, and Triscaru, 31.

The two had been missing for more than two weeks.

A search operation conducted by specialist police will be continuing today at a location off Mudgee Street, Kingston.

Detectives also spoke with 23-year-old Lelan Harrington, who was reported missing on January 25, one day after his friends vanished.

Initially police were searching for all three, however Mr Harrington was found safe at a Logan home on Tuesday.

Two crime scenes had been set up in the suburb of Kingston, including one at Mr Harrington’s home.


Logan pair Cory Breton, 28, and mother-of-three Iuliana Triscaru, 31. Photo: Queensland Police.

On Wednesday, police divers and helicopters searched bushland but failed to locate any traces of the missing pair.

Police were also seeking dashcam video from the Cleveland ferry terminal carpark between January 24-26.

A silver Mitsubishi Pajero which belonged to Mr Breton was found in the carpark after he disappeared.

Mr Breton reportedly discussed going on a holiday to Stradbroke Island before he vanished.

$3000 was also withdrawn from his bank account before he disappeared, according to police.


Police have released the image of a vehicle they suspect was involved in the crime. Source: QPS media.

Police have appealed for information in relation to this investigation and are seeking public assistance in relation to the movements of a dark green 1999 Toyota Hilux utility, Queensland Registration 684 VEP on the evening of 24 January 2016.

Ms Triscaru’s mother, told media on Tuesday her daughter was ‘a very good girl and a very good mum’.

“I’d be happy with just one call saying ‘Mama, I’m still alive’. That’s it,” she said.

Mr Breton’s partner, Miranda, also told media she had a ‘gut feeling’ and it was ‘not very good’.

In a statement released to 7 News the family stated: “Iuliana Triscaru was kind hearted and generous. Always smiling, she had a positive attitude towards life and loved her children more than anything. To know that she is no longer in life because she was murdered is extremely shocking, disturbing and very sad.”


 

The bodies of two people have been found locked in a large metal box that had been submerged in a dam at Kingston, south of Brisbane.

Police believe the bodies to be those of Cory Breton, 28, and Iuliana Triscaru, 31, who were reported missing last month.

The box was taken to Brisbane’s John Tonge Centre for forensic examination and found to contain the remains of two people.

Post mortems are being carried out to identify the pair.

A third person who had been reported missing, Lelan Harrington, was found alive on Tuesday.

The trio’s disappearance, and the motive behind the suspected murder of Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru, was “probably” drug related, police said.

Six people charged with two counts of murder

Six people – five men and one woman – were charged with murder on Wednesday night following an investigation into the pair’s disappearance.

Davy Malu Junion Taiao, Stou Daniels, Trent Michael Thrupp, all 22, Webbstar Latu, 31, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 24, and 36-year-old Ngatokoona Maretti all face two counts of murder.

They were remanded in custody during a hearing at Brisbane Magistrates Court and will face court next month.

Lawyer Andrew Owens, who is representing Maretti, said she was a mother of seven and desperate to get back to her children.

Mr Owens said he did think Maretti knew the victims but was yet to receive formal instructions.

“I don’t think friends but more associates, but it’s really early days to see what her involvement is really,” he said.

He said his client was in shock but would fight the charges and apply for bail at a later stage.

Police looking for two more people

Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson said police were still looking for two other people as part of the investigation but they were not suspects.

“One is a 32-year-old male from Crestmead and the other is a 25-year-old male who was residing at the Dewer Street unit,” he said.

“We are looking for these people to speak with them – we believe they can assist us with our enquiries.

“We would encourage them to come in and speak with us now.

“Circumstances have changed, a number of people are in custody and we would ask those people to come forward and speak with the police.

“The motive is something we’re still looking at but we suspect that it probably will be drug related.”

Photo: Police at the dam site on vacant land around Mudgee Street at Kingston, south of Brisbane. (ABC News: Nick Castellaro)


Reports of two bodies found as police search for missing Logan pair

Iuliana Triscaru and Cory Breton went missing in the Logan area in January. Picture: Queensland Police Service

Lauren McMah with AAP

UPDATE: TWO bodies have been found in a metal box that was sunk in a dam south of Brisbane.

The two bodies are yet to be identified but police fear they are the remains of Cory Breton, 28, and Iulian Triscaru, 31, who have been missing since January 24.

Police made the grim discovery in the Logan suburb of Kingston, behind an equipment hire property near Scrubby Creek.

Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson said police were still establishing a motive for the suspected murders.

“The motive is something we’re still looking at. We suspect that it probably will be drug-related,” he said.

Police use a crane to retrieve the metal box. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Police use a crane to retrieve the metal box. Picture: AAP Image/Dan PeledSource:AAP

The discovery of the 2m-long box, believed to contain the remains of Mr Breton, 28, and mother-of-three Ms Triscaru, 31, came just hours after police charged six people with their murders.

Two of those people were arrested after armed police intercepted their BMW on Gateway Motorway at Belmont, southeast of Brisbane, before 5pm Wednesday.

Police charged six people — five men and one woman — with two counts of murder. They are Davy Malu Junior Taiao, 21, Stou Daniels, 21, Trent Michael Thrupp, 22, Webbstar Latu, 31, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 24 and Ngatokoona Maretti, 36.

Police load the metal box into a van after pulling it out of the dam. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Police load the metal box into a van after pulling it out of the dam. Picture: AAP Image/Dan PeledSource:AAP

The Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday morning remanded all six people in custody. They will next face court on March 21.

Lawyer Alan Phillips, who represented three of the accused, said it was too early to comment when approached by waiting media outside court.

Detectives are still searching for two men, aged 32 and 25, who they want to question over the pair’s suspected murders.

Police are also looking for a 1999 Toyota HiLux ute they believe was used to transport the box, and two fluorescent yellow ratchet straps used to tie it down.

Supt Hutchinson said the family of Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru were “devastated”.

“This is something that has occurred very quickly, obviously it’s just evolved over the last couple of nights, and how the realisation will be hitting everybody of what has occurred.”

He said detectives have worked 24 hours a day on the case.

Earlier, police set up two crime scenes in the Logan suburb of Kingston, including at the home of 23-year-old Lelan Harrington, who had disappeared along with Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru but was found safe and well on Tuesday.

Police said Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru have been missing since January 24.

On Wednesday, police divers, dogs and a helicopter scoured dams, a creek and bushland around the site but failed to discover any trace of the missing pair.

Concerned neighbours near the bushland said their children often went swimming in the dams that surrounded their property.

“We’ve lived here for 30 years and we have never seen anything like this,” Janina Poom told the Courier Mail.

“We’re at the end of the street so we get a lot of hoons and the like, but that’s about it.”

Mr Breton’s partner Miranda (left) and Triscaru’s mother Victoria speak to the media at Logan police headquarters on Tuesday. Picture: AAP Image/Ed Jackson

Mr Breton’s partner Miranda (left) and Triscaru’s mother Victoria speak to the media at Logan police headquarters on Tuesday. Picture: AAP Image/Ed JacksonSource:AAP

A silver Mitsubishi Pajero belonging to Mr Breton was discovered in the carpark of the Cleveland ferry terminal following his disappearance.

He had reportedly discussed going on holiday to Stradbroke Island before he went missing.

He also withdrew $3000 just days before his disappearance, police said.

Ms Triscaru’s mother, Victoria, fronted the media on Tuesday in a public appeal for help to find her daughter.

“I miss her. She’s a very good girl and a very good mum,” she said. “The kids ask me all the time, ‘Where Mummy, where Mummy?’

“I’d be happy with just one call saying, ‘Mama, I’m still alive.’ That’s it.”

Mr Breton’s partner, Miranda, has told reporters of her fears. “Unfortunately, my gut feeling is not very good,” she said.

“Nothing adds up … it’s like a big puzzle that’s missing a lot of pieces.”

Police officers establish a crime scene near bushland in Kingston, south of Brisbane, as the search continues.

Police officers establish a crime scene near bushland in Kingston, south of Brisbane, as the search continues.Source:AAP

Miranda said Cory had dropped her at the airport as she headed to Newcastle in NSW to visit family. “That was the last time we spoke,” she said.

“He seemed in good spirits. He was talking about starting work with a mate of his that I know who runs a company in trade work of some description.

“I’ve got a million and one scenarios running through my mind as to what may have happened but I just want to know that he’s OK.

“It’s breaking us all that he’s missing — we’ve got a three-year-old daughter who is wondering where he is.

“He didn’t seem to be in trouble.”

Supt Hutchison said on Tuesday: “It’s every possibility they could be in fear for some unknown reason and have gone into hiding.

“There has been suggestion that some of them have decided to start a new life.

“All these are rumours.”

Police establish two crime scenes in search for missing Logan duo. Video: 7 News Queensland


 

Mexican “Safari” ends in murder for Aussies Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman


Missing Surfers

THE coastal Mexican region where the bodies of two men were found in a burnt-out van, likely to be identified as a pair of missing Australian surfers, has earned a reputation as the country’s murder capital.

Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman were travelling the picturesque coastline of northern Mexico in search of the kind of off-track surf beaches you wouldn’t find in a Lonely Planet guide.

Mr Lucas’s partner Josie Cox, who he had planned to propose to, said the men were a couple of “very keen and confident surfers” and “may have gone in search of waves in remote villages close by”.

It was on those remote roads they were driving overnight that it appears the pair ran into significant trouble.

The men were believed to be camping en route from Topolobampo to Guadalajara but, unusually, had not made contact with their girlfriends or family members for more than a week.

As Australian authorities communicated news of a “tragic event” to the families of Mr Lucas and Mr Coleman, reports emerged two bodies had been found in a torched vehicle appearing to have once matched the description of the blue and white camper they were driving.

Mexican authorities inspect a burnt-out van suspected to belong to a couple of Australian tourists missing for more than a week, in Sinaloa, Mexico. Picture: AP PhotoSource:AP

The WA friends were only about 25km from bustling modern cities and tourist attractions. Although most parts of Mexico are safe to visit when precautions are taken, away from the tourist cities and under cover of darkness are when many areas reveal how they’ve been touched by the country’s roaring underground drug trade and organised crime.

La Trobe University Institute of Latin American Studies senior fellow Dr Barry Carr says the two travelling surfers may be an extreme example of what can go wrong in the country.

“Parts of Mexico have a partly deserved reputation for being a dangerous place,” he tells news.com.au.

“If I was giving advice to friends of mine about driving, I would tell them two things: don’t drive at night and don’t, under any circumstances, get off the main highways. You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, classically, and it looks like that unfortunately may be the case for these young men.”

Dr Carr says that the picture of the burnt-out vehicle, while not a signature of any particular criminal group, was an extreme example of fairly common gang behaviour in many parts of rural Mexico.

“There is the so-called war on drugs in Mexico that has been raging since 2006. Around 102,000 have been killed and 32,000 have been disappeared. Disappeared people is a very common phenomenon — disappeared foreigners is less so but very unfortunately it does happen,” he said.

“These guys were outsiders, there is nothing to suggest that they were involved in anything illegal. They could have been lost, they could have been carrying valuables, they simply could have been picked up, robbed by some local thugs or could have fallen victim to some sort of stand-over tactic.”

Adam Coleman (pictured) had been on his way to meet up with his girlfriend in Guadalajara. Picture: FacebookSource:AAP

Rural kidnapping, robberies and theft not necessarily connected with the drug trade is a risk travellers take when going off-road in Mexico.

The state of Sinaloa, where Mr Coleman and Mr Lucas had travelled, has long been a notorious area for crime and is on the radars of international government authorities such as Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with warnings often in place.

Home to one of Mexico’s most significant international drug trafficking and organised crime syndicate, the Sinaloa Cartel, the Mexican state has both benefited and lost out from the distribution of cocaine and other drugs the organisation specialises in.

“There’s no secret there’s white powder behind a lot of the wealth in that state,” Dr Carr says.

One of the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, rose to international infamy pulling off an incredible escape from a Mexican prison in July.

The municipality of Navolato, about 25km west of the city of Culiacan, has been the site of countless murders and mafia activity in recent years.

Reports from local media detail burnt-out cars discarded on the streets of the notorious town, and brutal deaths likely associated with the drug trade, Dr Carr says.

Adam Coleman. Picture: FacebookSource :AAP

Dean Lucas. Picture: FacebookSource :Supplied

Although nothing has been confirmed of the identity of the bodies found in the van in Navolato, nor the whereabouts of the two missing men, those close to the men are fearing the worst.

Mr Coleman’s Mexican girlfriend, Andrea Gomez, told the Associated Press she and Mr Lucas’s partner, Josie Cox, will travel to the Sinaloan capital of Culiacan to see if the two bodies are the men.

“Everything points to it being them because the van matches; it had a bicycle,” Ms Gomez said.

She said that Ms Cox was bringing Mr Lucas’s dental records for matching and she had “pieces of dreadlocks” that Mr Coleman had given her.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the families and issued a statement on their behalf on Sunday, saying they were aware the van had been found and a “tragic event” had occurred.

“The families hold deep fears for the safety of their sons, but stress that they are still waiting for details to be confirmed,” a statement from the department said.

An online fundraising campaign to support the families of the two men has received more than $22,000 in a matter of hours.

Fault Lines travels to the troubled Mexican state of Michoacan to find out what happens when vigilante groups take on powerful drug cartels.


Missing surfers: Families of Australians Adam Coleman, Dean Lucas head to Mexico amid reports unidentified bodies found in van

Updated about 5 hours ago

The families of two West Australian surfers missing in Mexico hold grave fears for their safety, amid reports two bodies were found in a burnt-out van similar to the one the men were travelling in.

Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman were travelling in a van towards Guadalajara, but failed to arrive at their destination by November 21 as planned.

A media outlet in Mexico said two bodies had been found in a burnt-out Chevrolet van matching the description of the one the men were travelling, but local police have not confirmed or denied if they are the Australians.

Mexican authorities will run DNA tests on the two charred bodies and the girlfriends of the men are helping with DNA testing, an official told Reuters.

The official from Sinaloa’s local prosecutor’s office said the bodies were too charred to identify.

A photo of the burnt van shows a bicycle on the back and a spare tyre, similar to the one the men took on their road trip. Local reporters have told the ABC food tins and cooking utensils were also found in the van.

“Nothing is confirmed, it’s just a similar van,” Dean Lucas’s girlfriend Josie Cox told the ABC.

“[It’s] most likely theirs but I’m keeping positive it’s not.”

The torched van was found in the state of Sinaloa — one of the most dangerous and violent places in Mexico, home to powerful gangs and drug cartels.

The US State Department has advised people not to travel there outside of one major city, and says travelling on anything other than major toll roads is especially dangerous.

The families of the two men said they were aware the van had been found and that a “tragic event” had occurred, but still did not know exactly what had happened.

“The families and partners are aware the van in which they were travelling has been located by Mexican authorities and that a tragic event has occurred,” the families said in a statement released by DFAT on Sunday.

“The families hold deep fears for the safety of their sons but stress that they are still waiting for details to be confirmed.”

Family and friends have paid tribute to the men on social media.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it “is providing consular assistance to families in Australia who are seeking to establish the welfare of other family members in Mexico.”

“Due to privacy reasons we will not be making further comment.”

From other news sites:

  • Yahoo!7 News: Burnt van fears for missing WA surfers in Mexico

  • Everything points to it being them’: Girlfriend of one of two Australian surfers missing in Mexico gives police a DREADLOCK of his hair to help identify the charred bodies in their firebombed van

    • Australian surfers Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman are missing in Mexico
    • The two men, both 33, were last seen Friday, November 20, buying a map
    • Their girlfriends hope to provide Mexican authorities with DNA samples
    • Mr Lucas’ girlfriend, Josie Cox, arrived in Mexico with his dental records
    • While Mr Coleman’s girlfriend, Andrea Gomez, has pieces of his dreadlocks
    • Mexican authorities located the van the two Australian men were driving
    • Local media outlets have reported the discovery of the burnt campervan 

    Mr Lucas’ girlfriend, Josie Cox, arrived in Mexico on Sunday before she revealed her boyfriend was planning to propose.

    Mr Coleman’s girlfriend, Andrea Gomez, said Ms Cox brought Mr Lucas’ dental records with her.

    Josie Cox, Dean Lucas's girlfriend, has flown to Mexico to try and help find him and Adam Coleman. She arrived on Sunday with his dental records

    Mr Coleman's girlfriend, Andrea Gomez (right with her boyfriend), has 'pieces of his dreadlocks' to help authorities identify if one of the bodies found in a burnt-out campervan found in Navolato belongs to her partner

    Mexican news outlets have reported finding a burnt Chevy on the side of a road with two bodies inside

    Along with ‘pieces of dreadlocks’ given to Ms Gomez by her partner, the pair hoped authorities would be able to confirm whether or not the bodies found were those of their loved ones.

    ‘Everything points to it being them because the van matches, it had a bicycle. But nothing is confirmed yet,’ Ms Gomez said.

    At first, Ms Gomez and Ms Cox had wanted to travel to the Sinaloa capital of Culiacan on Monday with the items for DNA testing, but now they would travel to Mexico City to make contact with the Australian Embassy.

    Mr Lucas and Mr Coleman, from Golden Bay – an outer southern suburb of Perth, were reported missing after they organised ‘solid plans and reservations’ to be in Guadalajara, Mexico by November 21, but failed to arrive.

    Mexican news outlets reported the discovery of a burnt caravan containing two bodies as the families of the two men were informed their vehicle had been found and a ‘tragic event [had] occurred’.

    Family are currently travelling to Mexico and Ms Cox revealed on Sunday night Mr Lucas was going to ask her to marry him.

    Dean Lucas (left) and Adam Coleman (right) from Western Australia went missing while driving through Mexico in a blue and white Chevy

    Ms Cox revealed that Mr Lucas had been planning to propose to her before he went missing

    Pictured is Mr Coleman with his girlfriend Andrea Gomez, who had been planning to meet with him soon

    The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed the van has been found in Mexico 

    Mexican authorities are yet to identify the bodies who were found in a destroyed Chevy in Navolato, one of the most dangerous areas in Mexico, about 10.30pm.

    Sinaloa, home of the powerful cartel led by fugitive drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, stretches down Mexico’s Pacific coast and would be on the route of most road trips to Guadalajara from western Canada.

    Ms Cox has taken to social media appealing for any information that may help find the Australian men who were last seen in the coastal town of Los Mochis, with a witness saying the pair were buying a map.

    The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a statement on the missing surfers confirming their van has been located in Mexico.

    Mr Lucas' girlfriend Josie Cox earlier posted on Facebook that their families were devastated to learn local authorities had officially classed the pair as missing. Pictured is Mr Coleman

    Ms Cox said the men had 'solid plans and reservations' to be at Guadalajara by November 21, but never arrived. Pictured is her boyfriend Mr Lucas

    Ms Cox said the men had ‘solid plans and reservations’ to be at Guadalajara by November 21, but never arrived. Pictured is her boyfriend Mr Lucas

    A social media campaign has been launched to find two West Australian surfers. Above is Mr Lucas (left)

    Adam Coleman pictured with his girlfriend, Josie Cox

     Ms Cox is pictured here with Mr Lucas during various travels the pair took together

    ‘Dean and Adam were travelling in a van, departing from Topolobampa on Friday 20 November to Guadalajara but did not arrive on their scheduled date,’ the statement said.

    ‘The families and partners are aware the van in which they were traveling has been located by Mexican authorities and that a tragic event has occurred.

    ‘The families hold deep fears for the safety of their sons but stress that they are still waiting for details to be confirmed.’

    The local media publications have also translated Ms Cox’s plea for help in to Spanish in a bid to help try and find the pair.

    ‘The last confirmed siting [sic] was disembarking the ferry from Cabo to Topolobampa on Friday 20th November at 10pm. They were supposed to drive to Guadalajara after this, and never arrived,’ Ms Cox wrote on Facebook.

    Mr Lucas has also booked flights to the U.K. from Los Angeles within three days but there is now doubt whether he will be catching the flight.

    Family members of the pair are heading to Mexico as they await confirmation 

    The pair had ‘solid plans and reservations’ to be in Guadalajara, Mexico but never arrived 

    ‘They are very keen and confident surfers from Australia and may have gone in search of waves in remote villages close by. We suspect they free camped somewhere on route from Topolobampo to Guadalajara overnight.,

    ‘Their family and I are devastated and would kindly urge that you share this as far as you can and on any relevant social media sites or pages to help us find our boys.’

    Ms Cox’s recent update on the search also suggested there is devastating news.

    ‘We’d like to update everyone to announce we have had some distressing developments which we have not yet had confirmed.

    They were last seen buying a map by a witness in the Mexican coastal city of Los Mochis

    The keen surfers from Golden Bay, an outer southern suburb of Perth have not made contact with their families for over a week

    The van has a distinct red door on the back with the registration plates BSN - 2713

    ‘We would appreciate any updates on information if you know anyone that has any, but ask that the Lucas and Coleman family have some privacy at this time,’ she wrote on Facebook.

    Another friend of the pair also posted images of the men on social media while also suggesting their phones were stolen.

    ‘They have been driving through Mexico in this van and it’s been reported that Adam’s phone is now being used by someone else.

    ‘He is usually in regular contact with his mother and girlfriend so this is very out of character for him,’ she wrote.

    A friend of the pair has suggested that Adam Coleman's phone is being used by another person

    Local media organisations have also released photos of the pair in a bid to find any information that may help 

    In two hours a fundraising page for the pair's family members has raised over $4,000

     In two hours a fundraising page for the pair’s family members has raised over $4,000

    A gofundme fundraising page has also been set up to raise money for family members to help them travel to Mexico and continue their search for the pair.

    In nine hours 129 people have donated to the fundraising page raising over $16,000.

    ‘We are currently raising funds to help support both families in getting over to Mexico and bringing Dean and Adam back home to WA safely. any contributions is greatly appreciated,’ wrote the organiser of the page.

    A social media campaign has also been launched to help find the pair with the public using #FindDeanandAdam to share images and news of the men.

    The last confirmed siting was disembarking the ferry from Cabo to Topolobampa on Friday 20th November at 10pm

    Social media is reposting images of the Australians in hopes of finding any information about their disappearance

    Social media is reposting images of the Australians in hopes of finding any information about their disappearance

    A close friend's recent Facebook post reveals the family has received 'distressing developments' and their families are awaiting confirmation

    A close friend’s recent Facebook post reveals the family has received ‘distressing developments’ and their families are awaiting confirmation

Andrew Johns is a disgrace and an embarrassment. He has proven so time and time again!


ANDREW Johns ‘passed out’ at Toowoomba airport.

ANDREW Johns ‘passed out’ at Toowoomba airport.

Some things (ungrateful millionaire ex player and media star)  DO NOT CHANGE

How long does the old boys club protect and support tools like him? There are too many better deserving to be in the spotlight than the likes of Andrew Johns.

Channel Nine dumps Andrew Johns from grand final day broadcast following drunken airport incident

Michael Carayannis and Michael Chammas

Channel Nine stands down Andrew Johns from Sunday’s NRL grand final broadcast following an intoxicated incident at Toowoomba airport on Friday night.

Channel Nine has stood down Andrew Johns from Sunday’s grand final broadcast following the intoxicated incident at Toowoomba airport on Friday night.

Johns, a regular member of Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy Show, wasn’t included on the panel leading into the grand final coverage on Sunday.

Bad form: The Facebook post of Andrew Johns asleep in Toowoomba Airport with a comment by the poster.

Bad form: The Facebook post of Andrew Johns asleep in Toowoomba Airport with a comment by the poster. Photo: Facebook / Helen Wright

He has also been told he will not be part of the broadcast of the all-Queensland grand final between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the former Newcastle halfback, who is deep in negotiations with Fox Sports about joining his brother Matthew at the pay TV network.

It also comes a fortnight after fellow Channel Nine rugby league commentator Brett Finch checked himself into rehabilitation following a stint back in April.

It comes after Johns was accused of “disgusting and disgraceful” behaviour, photographed lying on the floor at Toowoomba’s Wellcamp airport on Friday night after allegedly propositioning a married woman, who labelled Johns’ behaviour “a very bad example”.

Helen Wright, who later received an apology from the rugby league immortal, detailed Johns’ behaviour on Facebook, saying: “I wish that football commentators [had] more pride and a much higher standard of behaviour in public”.

“This is not an example that should be presented to children that were present! Many of the children had taken photos of him passed out. My own sons have played football all their lives and we love the game. But not this aspect of the game. Regards Helen Wright.”


Andrew Johns apologises for ‘disgraceful’ behaviour at airport – after getting ‘drunk and making sexually explicit comments to a mum of three before passing out’

  • NRL immortal Andrew Johns has been accused of drunk behaviour
  • The formal NRL player allegedly passed out at Toowoomba airport
  • Helen Wright shared a photo of Johns on the floor on social media 
  • The mother-of-three claims he tried to kiss her and made a lewd comment
  • Ms Wright told Daily Mail Australia he has already called to apologise 

By Lucy Thackray for Daily Mail Australia

22:30 EST, 3 October 2015

A woman has accused former NRL player Andrew Johns of ‘disgusting behaviour’, alleging he was drunk and disorderly at an airport and tried to kiss her before passing out on the floor.

A photo of the NRL immortal allegedly lying ‘passed out’ on the floor of Toowomba’s Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport went viral on Saturday morning when Queensland woman Helen Wright posted it on social media.

‘Andrew Johns was absolutely disgusting. He was severely intoxicated,’ wrote Ms Wright, describing the alleged incident, said to have taken place on Queensland’ east coast on Friday night.

The mother-of-three tells Daily Mail Australia Mr Johns made contact with her on Saturday, ringing to apologise if his behaviour had offended her.

The 42-year-old says while waiting for a delayed flight, Johns tried to kiss her and made a lewd comment when she refused.

A photo of the NRL immortal allegedly lying ‘passed out’ on the floor of Toowomba’s Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport went viral on Saturday morning when Queensland woman Helen Wright posted it on social media

‘Andrew Johns was absolutely disgusting. He was severely intoxicated,’ wrote Ms Wright, describing the alleged incident, said to have taken place on Queensland’ east coast on Friday night

‘When I refused to kiss him and replied I was happily married and had three sons his question to me was “did you have a cesarean birth?’

‘Disgusting, disgraceful and a very bad example for all to see.

‘Then he proceeded to pass out on the floor of the airport,’ she alleges.

Ms Wright claims many young children were present and some even took photos of the recently separated commentator while he was ‘passed out’ on the floor.

Ms Wright claims many young children were present and some even took photos of the recently separated commentator while he was ‘passed out’ on the floor

She is calling for NRL identities to be better role models, particularly for the children who look up to them.

‘I wish that football commentators have more pride and a much higher standard of behaviour in public,’ Ms Wright posted.

‘This is not an example that should have been presented to children that were present!’

‘My own sons have played football all their lives and we love the game.

‘But not this aspect of the game.’

Daily Mail Australia made numerous attempts to contact Andrews Johns’ management.

Channel Nine declined to comment.

The all Queensland NRL grand final will be held in Sydney on Sunday night.

She is calling for NRL identities to be better role models, particularly for the children who look up to them


Problem after problem after problem

Ecstasy use controversy

On 26 August 2007 Johns was arrested for fare evasion on the London Underground, and subsequently found to be in possession of one ecstasy tablet. He was cautioned and released with no further charges. Johns initially claimed that an unknown person had pushed the tablet into his pocket which he later forgot to remove before leaving the crowded venue. This initial statement was met with a great deal of cynicism from both the press and the public. On 30 August, Johns revealed, live on the Footy Show, that he had regularly taken ecstasy throughout his playing career, mainly during the off-season. He claimed he had suffered from depression and bipolar disorder and the drugs helped him in dealing with the high level of psychological ‘pressure’ associated with his career as an elite sportsman Not long after the incident he released his ‘tell-all’ autobiography that went into further details regarding his depression and drug use while playing in the NRL.

The ARU released a press statement shortly after the controversy arose, stating that Johns’ drug use was known to the ARU and was a key factor in its decision to not proceed with contractual negotiations in 2004. Brett Robinson, then high-performance unit manager, said that, as well as Johns’ age and injury history, the knowledge of his drug taking had been influential in the ARU making its final decision.

When Johns was named the Best Player of the Last 30 Years in early 2008, the accolade allayed concern that Johns’ shock drug admission the year before had tarnished his remarkable efforts on the field for Newcastle, NSW and Australia. On receiving the award he was quoted as saying his health was now in great shape. “I’m at the best place I have been in a long time,” he said. “It’s not until you step away that I realise all the pressure I was under, I’m not going to miss playing at all.”
Racism controversy

In June 2010 during the lead-up to Origin II, New South Wales centre Timana Tahu withdrew mid-week from the NSW squad following reports Johns referred to Queensland player Greg Inglis as a “black cunt” during a training session.Johns was subsequently fired from his role as NSW assistant coach. Though he apologised for the incident on Tuesday 15 June,it is alleged it was not the first time Johns had used racist language in a football environment. Inglis has since demanded Johns be barred from any involvement in rugby league.

More Joyous Scandal

Johns was the catalyst to the More Joyous Scandal, engulfing leading Sydney horse trainer Gai Waterhouse, larrikin advertising figure John Singleton (racehorse More Joyous’s owner) and bookmaker and son of the horse trainer Tom Waterhouse. Johns passed information from Tom Waterhouse that horse More Joyous was “off” on to brothel owner Eddie Hayson and former jockey Allan Robinson. Singleton received word of this and, while visibly inebriated, verbally attacked Gai Waterhouse on live television. Johns feared his Channel 9 commentating career would be over due to the trouble he caused Tom Waterhouse, a Channel 9 advertiser. Johns’s commentating career survived, although his reputation was further damaged. Both Waterhouses were cleared of any major wrongdoing by a Racing NSW inquiry, however, Singleton and Gai’s longstanding partnership ended.



Music promoter Andrew McManus is one of five men who have been arrested over an alleged cocaine smuggling ring.


Andrew McManus, promoter to stars including Aerosmith, Laura Dundovic and KISS, arrested in international cocaine ring bust… after police trace $700,000 in cash he claimed was ‘for a Lenny Kravitz concert’

  • Music promoter Andrew McManus was arrested and charged by police
  • It is alleged the 54-year-old was part of an international drug trafficking ring
  • The investigation began when $702,000 was found in a hotel room in 2011
  • McManus claimed the money was payment for a Lenny Kravitz concert 

A prominent Australian music promoter is one of five men who have been arrested over an alleged cocaine smuggling ring.

A four-year joint investigation between NSW Police and the United States’ FBI led to the arrests of the group of men.

Detectives arrested three men in Sydney on Thursday night while a fourth man – 54-year-old music promoter Andrew McManus  – was arrested at Melbourne Airport, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Music promoter Andrew McManus has been arrested as part of an alleged international drug trafficking ring 

 Music promoter Andrew McManus has been arrested as part of an alleged international drug trafficking ring

It has also been reported the detained Sydney men were crime figure Craig Haeusler, Kings Cross solicitor Michael Croke and Auburn pastry shop owner Zeki Atilgan.

McManus has been charged with perverting the course of justice, two counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group.

A fifth man was arrested in the US by the FBI for drug offences and money laundering, NSW Police said in a statement.

US businessman Owen Hanson Jr was arrested while playing golf in San Diego, the Herald reported.

McManus and Miss Universe Australia 2008 Laura Dundovic in 2008

Andrew McManus and music legend Stevie Nicks pose at The Melbourne Cup in 2005

McManus (left with Laura Dundovic and right with Stevie Nicks) was arrested along with crime figure Craig Haeusler, Kings Cross solicitor Michael Croke and Auburn pastry shop owner Zeki Atilgan

Andrew McManus has been responsible for bringing Aerosmith, KISS, Lenny Kravitz and Chris Isaak (pictured above with McManus in 2008) to Australia

 Andrew McManus has been responsible for bringing Aerosmith, KISS, Lenny Kravitz and Chris Isaak (pictured above with McManus in 2008) to Australia

He was charged with perverting the course of justice, two counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group

NSW detectives started investigating the alleged syndicate in August 2011 after a bag of $702,000 in cash was found in a man’s Sydney hotel room.

WHO IS ANDREW MCMANUS?

Andrew McManus, who owns McManus Entertainment, has been responsible for bringing Aerosmith, KISS and Lenny Kravitz to Australia.

He was forced to declare bankruptcy when the ATO discovered he had a $2.4 million tax debt after he was left $4.2 million out of pocket when deals and tours fell through.

McManus had to sell off his fleet of luxury cars and extensive property portfolio to cover his substantial debts.

The music promoter made headlines again back in 2011 when he was linked to a bag of $702,000 in cash that he claimed was payment for a Lenny Kravitz concert.

Four years later, he was arrested for his alleged part in a international cocaine ring, along with three Sydney men and a US citizen.

A court case was brought against NSW Police for the return of the cash when McManus claimed the bag was his and the money was payment for a Lenny Kravitz concert when he toured Australia.

But the police won and in late 2014 conducted raids in Sydney and Victoria, which netted $68,000 cash, drugs, steroids, documents and electronic equipment.

The operation also uncovered information regarding the alleged importation of 300kg of cocaine from Mexico to Australia via the US.

Since then, police have been investigating alleged drug trafficking between Mexico, the US and Australia, and associated money laundering.

Australian Crime Commission NSW manager Warren Gray said ‘investigations like this one affirm the effectiveness of “following the money'”‘.

NSW Police have charged a 55-year-old man with perverting the course of justice, intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group.

A 65-year-old has been charged with perverting the course of justice, three counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group.

A 32-year-old man was charged with two counts of money laundering.

NSW detectives started investigating the alleged syndicate in August 2011 after a bag of $702,000 in cash was found in a man's Sydney hotel room. Above is one of the three Sydney men being arrested on ThursdayNSW detectives started investigating the alleged syndicate in August 2011 after a bag of $702,000 in cash was found in a man’s Sydney hotel room. Above is one of the three Sydney men being arrested on Thursday

The trio have been charged with money laundering, perverting the course of justice, intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group

Police raided the homes of three men in Kellyville, Miranda, and Sydney CBD following the extensive investigationPolice raided the homes of three men in Kellyville, Miranda, and Sydney CBD following the extensive investigation

The group of men have been bailed to appear at Sydney courts at later dates. NSW Police are also seeking to extradite a US citizenThe group of men have been bailed to appear at Sydney courts at later dates. NSW Police are also seeking to extradite a US citizen

The group of men have been bailed to appear at Sydney courts at later dates.

NSW Police is seeking the extradition of a 33-year-old US citizen to Sydney on arrest warrants for money laundering, perverting the course of justice and intent to defraud by false or misleading statement, as well as an additional charge of drug supply of a large commercial quantity.

Detectives from the Organised Crime Squad are currently in San Diego, California, working with the FBI.

A number of search warrants were executed, with officers seizing cash, gold, silver, cannabis and documentation.


Drug trafficking, money laundering bust sees five men, including Melbourne music promoter, arrested in joint NSW Police-FBI investigation

Updated about 2 hours ago

Music promoter Andrew McManus was arrested in Melbourne last night. (Getty Images: Kristian Dowling)

Five men, including Melbourne music promoter Andrew McManus, have been arrested following a joint FBI and New South Wales police investigation into international drug trafficking and money laundering.

An investigation was launched after police seized more than $700,000 from a man at a Sydney hotel in 2011.

NSW Police faced legal action for the return of the money, with a claim being made that it was payment for an international band who had toured Australia, but the case was thrown out of the Supreme Court and investigations continued.

Last year, New South Wales and Victoria police raided five properties, seizing more than $68,000 in cash and steroids.

Detectives say they also uncovered the importation of 300 kilograms of cocaine from Mexico to Australia, via the United States.

Following a joint operation with the FBI in San Diego, California, police last night arrested McManus, 54, in Melbourne.

McManus’ promotion companies have brought a number of high-profile entertainers to Australia, including Kiss, Mötley Crüe and Stevie Nicks.

A 65-year-old Sydney solicitor and two other New South Wales men were also charged.

Subsequent searches at a home in Kellyville, in Sydney’s north-west, uncovered cash, steroids and cannabis.

New South Wales Police are also trying to extradite US citizen Owen Hanson, 33, to Sydney so he can be charged.

He was arrested by FBI agents in the parking lot of a golf course in near San Diego, California, where he remains in custody on US federal drug charges, according to a statement from the FBI.

“The commitment made by the detectives and others involved in this investigation has been outstanding — they never lost focus on the job at hand,” commander of the Organised Crime Squad, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, said in a statement.

“As recent investigations have shown, it is now clear that organised syndicates impacting NSW are often transnational in nature.

“Whilst this presents us with challenges, those who undertake these activities need to understand that being outside the jurisdiction will not save you.”

Australian Crime Commission state manager NSW Warren Gray said that, in this instance, “following the money” led to the discovery of criminal activity.

“The collaborative work between NSW Police and the FBI, and multiple partner agencies, is highly commendable and this outcome is a great result for the Australian community,” he said.

theage.com.au

Andrew McManus at centre of storm

Kate McClymont

Big business: Andrew McManus in his office.Big business: Andrew McManus in his office. Photo: Teagan Glenane FCN

Controversial music promoter Andrew McManus has unwittingly revealed an important career lesson to tax evaders: if you are going to boast about ripping off the Australian Tax Office, don’t confide in the police.

His bizarre admission emerged last week in a court case involving the promoter, a bag full of cash, international rock acts including Fleetwood Mac and Lenny Kravitz and crime figures from Australia and the US.

“I’m not a dickhead but… if this went to the ATO, I’d be cooked again.”  

Andrew McManus

During an investigation into the source of the $702,000 cash found in a Sydney hotel room in 2011, McManus claimed the money was his. He boasted to police if they came round to his house “right now” they would find a safe with “600 large sittin’ in it”.

Legends: International rock act Fleetwood Mac.Legends: International rock act Fleetwood Mac.

When the police asked about the source of the money, he said, “This isn’t going anywhere?” He then offered that the “600 large” came from a Lenny Kravitz tour.

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 He told police that he used 20 crew members to “sneak” the cash in from New Zealand.

“I’m not a dickhead but… if this went to the ATO, I’d be cooked again,” he volunteered.

Legal fight: Sean Carolan at the Supreme Court in Sydney.Legal fight: Sean Carolan at the Supreme Court in Sydney. Photo: Photo: Janie Barrett

Documents tendered during a recent battle in the NSW Supreme Court over the money have revealed that McManus also accepted $450,000 in cash from the outlaw Perth bikie gang, the Coffin Cheaters.

He also admitted to police that he withheld funds from rock groups including international stars Fleetwood Mac.

McManus also confided to police about the financial fallout from his involvement in the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal.

The saga of the suitcase full of cash had its origins in May 2011 when McManus was staying at the luxurious InterContinental hotel in Macquarie Street, a short walk from Sydney’s Circular Quay.

In his hotel room he had a number of plastic shopping bags crammed with $10,000 bundles of cash totalling $702,000. His long-time friend and associate Craig Haeusler emptied the bags into a suitcase.

Haeusler, a drug kingpin who served five years in jail for running a multi-million dollar drug ring supplying methamphetamines to Sydney’s eastern suburbs, then gave the money to a young American, Owen Hanson jnr.

Haeusler told police he had been introduced to Hanson by a Chinese gambling identity and that the pair had bet on the NFL in America.

Hanson, who moved hotels every few days, was nicknamed “Dispose” by his Australian friends because of his propensity to dispose of pre-paid mobile phones.

Haeusler later told police that McManus was repaying Hanson who had  stumped up the deposit McManus needed for a ZZ Top tour.

The suitcase of cash was then hidden by Hanson in the ceiling of a rented apartment in Kent Street for three months. In August he handed the suitcase of cash to his personal trainer, Sean Carolan.

On August 11, 2011, police received an anonymous tip-off that the occupant of room 3026 in the Hilton Hotel had a gun. The occupant, Carolan, a former cage fighter and racehorse trainer turned personal trainer, didn’t have a gun — but he did have a black suitcase containing McManus’s $702,000, which the police seized.

Carolan’s subsequent legal fight to recover the money has brought to light a bizarre series of events.

On the night police seized the cash, Carolan said he was merely minding the money for Hanson, who didn’t want to lose any more at the casino.

CCTV footage from Star City casino obtained by the police shows earlier that day Carolan and Hanson were in a heated conversation with Robert Cipriani, a well-known American high roller who calls himself Robin Hood 702 (702 is the telephone code for Las Vegas).

Police records note that Cipriani “is well known to the casino and is currently of interest to the Australian Federal Police”.

The day after the cash was seized, Cipriani left for Los Angeles.

During the investigation into the suitcase, police interviewed Hanson by videolink from the Beverly Hills police station in Los Angeles. “Do you want me to tell you the, the full story of how basically this money was laundered…?” Hanson offered.

He said the cash had come from McManus but, contrary to Carolan’s initial version, Hanson claimed he had given the money to Carolan to invest in Carolan’s weight loss clinic.

As well as expressing concern at Hanson’s use of the word “laundered”, Justice Richard Button noted in his judgment on Monday, “There is no satisfactory explanation why Mr Hanson would invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in the business concept of a personal trainer who resided in a foreign country and whom he had known for no more than several weeks.”

Justice Richard Button refused to hand the $702,000 back to Carolan, saying he was not convinced he was “lawfully” entitled to the money.

Carolan was ordered to pay the police costs.

When he was interviewed by police in April 2012, McManus told them the money was his. “It’s pretty obvious though. I gave someone 700 large, and you’ve found someone with 700 large. It’s my 700 large.”

McManus told the police that the cash was part of a business deal where he was repaying the money to Hanson, who had lent him cash as a deposit for a ZZ Top tour but now he wanted it back to fund a Lenny Kravitz tour.

“In essence, I delivered back 700 grand I now need to borrow it again. As quickly as possible,” he said.

He also said; “It’s not the proceeds of crime, it’s the [proceeds] of Andrew McManus.”

McManus made remarkable admissions during his record of interview with police. He has since claimed he was under the influence of morphine  and alcohol at the time.

The rock promoter volunteered to police that he had been “under suspicion by the NRL, for making player payments to rugby league players”.

This was a reference to the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal in 2010 when it was revealed that McManus had facilitated extra payments to Storm players including Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

His company, Andrew McManus Presents, would bill the Storm for “promotional” events. The money would be then be channelled by McManus’s company through to several Storm players.

The Storm were later stripped of their points and previous premiership titles.

Neither the players nor McManus were accused of any wrongdoing but McManus told the police of the fallout which included the Australian Tax Office going through him like a dose of salts.

“Although I did make tax payments on each player payment, I never actually got them to sign a full stat dec. So, of those players, they decided that they would fine me…between 30 per cent and the 49 per cent.”

He said he had to pay the ATO $120,000 per player, which totalled $2.4 million. “It crushed my company…Andrew McManus Presents International,” he told police.

Because of his ensuing financial difficulties he said he used friends and associates to help fund tours. McManus mentioned that Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger and his brother Andrew had invested in his concert tours.

He said on five or six occasion, Michael Kroger had “put cash in and then I’ll, you know, fold it out.”

A spokesman for Michael Kroger said it was “a standard financial arrangement”.

McManus also boasted of withholding cash ticket sales from bands such as Fleetwood Mac. “I sold over $700,000 in cash tickets, because people wanted the best tickets, they come to the office, they ring up or email.”

“I’m not sharing it with the band…the cash stays in Andrew McManus’s pocket,” he told police.

McManus also told the police that he had accepted $450,000 in cash from the Coffin Cheaters, an outlaw motor cycle gang who were promoting the Perth leg of the ZZ Top tour.

During his police interview, McManus was accompanied by his lawyer and former partner in a Sydney nightclub, Michael Croke.

Croke, who represented Haeusler in his drug trial, also acted for McManus, Hanson, Haeusler and finally Carolan in the latter’s unsuccessful attempt to have the money returned.

During the case, Haeusler was pacing up and down the corridor outside the Supreme Court in Sydney.

McManus declined to comment for this story. He has issued a media release suggesting revelations about the suitcase and the cash were “gutter journalism by a bottom feeder” and that the articles had been written under “the protection of impossible deformation (sic) laws.”

WA Police seize biggest-ever meth haul – ‘hundreds of kilos’


It’s the biggest drug bust in Western Australian history, 321 kilograms of methamphetamine allegedly destined for sale on WA streets.

WA Police’s biggest-ever drug bust has seized 321 kilograms of the drug, mostly concealed in Chinese tea packaging, along with more than $1.4 million in cash.

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan confirmed that the drugs, which would have yielded about 3.2 million ‘hits’ and fetched hundreds of millions on the street, were seized as the result of a continuing operation between state and federal police and the Australian Crime Commission.

The haul is the largest seizure of methamphetamine in WA history.The haul is the largest seizure of methamphetamine in WA history. Photo: WA Police

He called the haul a “hammer blow” to the organised criminal syndicate “peddling this misery” in WA.

Mr Keenan joined WA Police acting commissioner Gary Dreibergs and other officials in Perth on Thursday to reveal the bust and congratulate the officers involved.

Police have charged four Hong Kong nationals, three of whom are in the country illegally and one on a visitors’ visa, ACC chief executive Chris Dawson confirmed.

Police claims the methamphetamine haul has a street value of $320 million.Police claims the methamphetamine haul has a street value of $320 million. Photo: WA Police

On Tuesday after stopping a car in Willetton and arresting the 18-year-old driver, they searched a Canning Vale home and seized 316 kilograms of meth concealed in Chinese tea packaging inside 10 suitcases, WA Police acting deputy commissioner Michelle Fyfe said.

Following an arrest of the 19-year-old occupant, they were led to search an Adelaide Terrace apartment in Perth’s CBD and a Hay Street hotel room, where they seized another 43 grams and 4.9 kilograms of ice respectively and arrested another two men, aged 21 and 26, she said.

She said it was “frightening” to imagine that this quantity of ice was destined to be used by members of the community.

More than a million dollars cash was seized along with the record-breaking meth bust.More than a million dollars cash was seized along with the record-breaking meth bust.

The men have each been charged with possession of illicit drugs with intent to sell or supply and possession of stolen or unlawfully obtained property. They all appeared on Wednesday at Perth Magistrates Court and were remanded in custody.

Mr Dawson said intelligence informing the local investigation came through the ACC-led Eligo National Task Force, which had been tracking organised criminals cash flows for about two years.

The task force, comprising the ACC, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, other federal agencies, federal police and state and territory police forces, was part of a “global attack” on organised crime syndicates in South East Asia.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Gary Dreibergs, WA Police Minister Liza Harvey and Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan (from left) revealed the details of the bust.Acting Deputy Commissioner Gary Dreibergs, WA Police Minister Liza Harvey and Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan (from left) revealed the details of the bust.

The investigation was continuing and the team would work with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Acting commissioner Dreibergs said the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Drug Use Monitoring in Australia project, plus waste-water analysis, were showing increasing methamphetamine use in the community.

“It affects the behaviour of offenders which makes it even more concerning for our officers. You see the community damage and the risk of violent behaviour that comes with it,” he said.

The huge haul illustrates the extent of the methamphetamine problem.The huge haul illustrates the extent of the methamphetamine problem.

“[This] puts our officers at risk more than ever … when I was an officer in my young days you didn’t have people impacted by methamphetamine, and more violent and unpredictable than they would normally be.

“People are making a massive amount of money … people who are very organised in this space.

“This is the old supply and demand story. You’ve got demand, people are going to fill that with supply like any other business.”

Acting WA Police commissioner Gary Dreibergs will make an announcement on the massive drug haul alongside other agencies involved.Acting WA Police commissioner Gary Dreibergs will make an announcement on the massive drug haul alongside other agencies involved.

Minister Keenan agreed there would always be ice entering Australia and so prevention and education were critical.

He said the National Ice Taskforce, led by former Victoria Police chief commissioner Ken Lay, was advising the government on how to improve education in the community, reduce demand and improve the health response at a national level.

The taskforce represents an increasing political focus on ice use in Australia and an evolution from looking at it as purely a police matter.

In March, the ACC published The Australian Methylamphetamine Market: The National Picture, the first comprehensive national snapshot of ice and the role organised crime plays in its distribution, to inform the national response.

In April, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the establishment of the National Ice Taskforce, entrusted with developing a National Ice Action Strategy including education and health responses as well as law enforcement.

Mr Lay and fellow taskforce members Sally McCarthy and Richard Murray spent eight weeks travelling Australia to hear first-hand from people dealing with the impacts of ice in communities, with a particular focus on regional Australia.

They received more than 1300 submissions, held seven community consultations and spoke to experts in drug treatment, health care, education, research and law enforcement.

Federal MPs also held community consultations to contribute to this body of information.

On July 23, Mr Abbott presented the National Ice Taskforce interim report to the Council of Australian Governments outlining the six priority areas for the national strategy.

The strategy is due to be finalised by the end of the year.

A Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement is simultaneously at work, focusing purely on the law enforcement response to the ice problem in Australia.


 

‘Largest ever WA ice bust’ nets $320 million worth of meth, more than $1 million cash

Police in Perth have confiscated 320 kilograms of methamphetamine worth $320 million, as well as $1.2 million in cash, in what has been described as WA’s largest ever ice seizure.

The drugs were seized in a joint operation yesterday between WA Police and the Australian Crime Commission.

This seizure is a hammer blow for the organised criminals who peddle in ice.

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan

Arrest warrants were executed at three residences, in Canning Vale and the Perth CBD.

Most of the drugs, about 316 kilograms, were found hidden in packages of Chinese tea at a house in Canning Vale.

An apartment on Adelaide Terrace and a hotel on Hay Street in the city were also raided.

Four Hong Kong nationals, ranging in age from 19 to 26, have been charged over the seizure.

Three of those men are believed to have been in Australia illegally, the fourth was on a visa.

The four men have already appeared in court and were remanded in custody.

Haul a ‘hammer blow’ to criminals, Keenan says

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said it was a significant haul.

“This latest seizure, this largest seizure in Western Australian history, is an example of the dividends that are being paid by the unprecedented cooperation between Commonwealth and state law enforcement,” he said.

“They have taken at least 320 kilograms of this terrible drug off the streets. That would have equated to 3.2 million individual hits of ice, with a street value of upwards of $320 million.

“This seizure is a hammer blow for the organised criminals who peddle in ice.”

Police said they feared what could have happened if the drugs had not been confiscated.

“[It] can only be described as frightening that this was going to hit our streets, this was going to be taken by members of our community,” WA Police acting deputy commissioner Michelle Fyfe said.

WA Police Minister Liza Harvey said the operation would put a significant dent in the ice market.

“I cannot tell you the impact that will have on the families, and the relatives and the friends of the meth addicts who wreak havoc on our community,” she said.

String of drug busts

This is the third major methamphetamine bust in the state in the past couple of months.

In August, police arrested three men and impounded a yacht off Western Australia’s north-west coast after seizing more than 20 kilograms of methamphetamine from a unit in Perth.

Officers from the Australian Federal Police and Organised Crime Squad seized the drug — also known as ice — and almost $1 million from the Perth unit as part of a National Anti-Gang Squad operation.

They also found 11 guns, including a sawn-off shotgun and a homemade machine gun.

In July, methamphetamine with a street value of $21 million was seized along with $100,000 cash.

Five people from WA, Queensland and New South Wales were charged over the seizure in the northern Perth suburb of Karrinyup.


 

Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara trial (for murder of Jamie Gao )


update 14/8/15

smh.com.au

Barrister Charles Waterstreet probed for contempt of court over social media posts in McNamara and Rogerson murder trial

Louise Hall
Charles Waterstreet (left) arrives at the murder trial of Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara in July.Charles Waterstreet (left) arrives at the murder trial of Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara in July. Photo: Ben Rushton

High-profile criminal barrister Charles Waterstreet may face contempt of court charges for alleged social media posts which had the potential to prejudice the trial of his client Glen McNamara and co-accused Roger Rogerson.

On Thursday, Justice Geoffrey Bellew formally vacated the trial of Mr McNamara and Mr Rogerson for the murder of university student Jamie Gao during a botched drug deal.

The trial was scheduled to go ahead on Monday, but will not proceed until early next year.

Justice Bellew ordered the registrar of the Common Law Division of the Supreme Court to investigate Mr Waterstreet for contempt of court.

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On Tuesday, as pre-trial hearings were under way, Justice Bellew was told of a post on an Instagram account in Mr Waterstreet’s name, being charleswaterstreet.

The post contained a picture of Mr Waterstreet and another man and was taken in the vicinity of the Darlinghurst Supreme Court.

It had a caption, the contents of which Justice Bellew has suppressed.

Mr Waterstreet told Justice Bellew he did not post the picture and caption.

The court also heard a Twitter account in Mr Waterstreet’s name at @ccwaterstreet posted a link to the Instagram post.

Justice Bellew said he had “no practical alternative” to vacate the trial despite the considerable expense to the taxpayer.

He said it was no fault of the court, the “criminal justice system”, the Crown, Mr Rogerson’s solicitor and barrister or Mr McNamara’s solicitor and said each had worked diligently to ensure the trial proceeded efficiently.

“To say the vacation of the trial is unfortunate would be a gross understatement,” he said.

But he said Mr McNamara, through no fault of his own, was suddenly left without a barrister on Wednesday morning, just days from the opening date, and to proceed would potentially rob him of a fair trial.

Former Liberal NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith, SC, appeared in court, saying Mr McNamara wanted to retain him and Mr Waterstreet’s junior counsel Peter Lange. However, he would not be able to take on the case until next year.

Mr Rogerson’s barrister, George Thomas, argued strongly for the trial to be put back for only two weeks, arguing a competent and experienced barrister who is available to take on the case could get across the brief in that time.

He also accused Mr McNamara of instructing Mr Waterstreet to act in a way that caused the case to go off the rails.

However, Justice Bellew dismissed any suggestion Mr McNamara was behind Mr Waterstreet’s alleged actions.

He also said any barrister taking over the case would need much more than two weeks to get across the volumes of material to be tendered during the trial.

Mr Smith said he was hoping the Legal Aid Commission would approve his retainer.

Mr Thomas said that, as Mr McNamara’s defence was funded by Legal Aid, he did not have the luxury of choosing his own barrister and should take whoever was available.

Both Mr Rogerson and Mr McNamara have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Gao in a storage unit in Padstow last year.

Following the revelation of the social media posts, Mr Waterstreet was given time to get legal advice. He consulted noted appeal barrister Tim Game, SC.

On Wednesday, Mr Waterstreet sought the court’s leave to withdraw from the case.

Mr Game, appearing for Mr Waterstreet, told the court he had advised his client to step down, although this did not constitute an admission of wrongdoing.

Crown Prosecutor Chris Maxwell, QC, and Mr Game agreed Mr Waterstreet should be referred to the registrar for investigation.

In referring Mr Waterstreet, Justice Bellew ordered the registrar to seek and adhere to the “advice of the Crown Solicitor as to whether proceedings for contempt should be taken against Mr Waterstreet”.

He also ordered the registrar to inform the Attorney-General, Gabrielle Upton.


Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara murder trial of Jamie Gao hearing to begin for the 2nd time on August 18 2015

 These 2 pathetic (and stupid) coppers go on trial today TRIAL aborted on the 2nd day! for the alleged botched drug theft gone wrong resulting in the murder of Jamie Gao

UPDATES daily on this trial here background posts click here http://aussiecriminals.com.au/2014/05/26/roger-rogerson-and-glen-mcnamara-charged-with-murder-of-jamie-gao/

A pictorial of the infamous ex copper Roger the Dodger is here http://aussiecriminals.com.au/roger-rogerson/


TAKE 2

Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara murder trial of Jamie Gao hearing to begin on August 18 2015

Paul Bibby

New trial date: former detectives Glen McNamara and Roger Rogerson will appear before the NSW Supreme Court on August 18.New trial date: former detectives Glen McNamara and Roger Rogerson will appear before the NSW Supreme Court on August 18. Photo: Rocco Fazzari

Former detectives Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara will face a new trial over the murder of Sydney student Jamie Gao on August 18, following the discharge of the jury in their first trial.

Justice Geoff Bellew told the NSW Supreme Court that the new trial date for the pair had been confirmed, lifting a non-publication order made on Tuesday.

Mr Rogerson, 74, and Mr McNamara, 56, are accused of being part of a “joint criminal enterprise” to murder Mr Gao, 20, in a southern Sydney storage unit on May 20 last year.

Twenty-year-old Jamie Gao was killed on May 22, 2014.Twenty-year-old Jamie Gao was killed on May 22, 2014. Photo: Facebook

It is alleged that they stole 2.78 kilograms of the drug ice from him and then dumped his body off the coast of Cronulla. It was found six days later.

Half way through the trial’s second day on Tuesday, Justice Bellew discharged the 15-member jury for legal reasons which cannot be disclosed.

Both accused have pleaded not guilty to murder and drug supply.

Counsel for Mr McNamara, Charles Waterstreet told the jury on Tuesday that Mr Rogerson had been solely responsible for the murder.

He said the 74-year-old had shot Mr Gao twice in the chest and then threatened to kill Mr McNamara and his family if he did not help him to cover up the crime.

No evidence was presented to support these claims before the jury was discharged.

Counsel for Mr Rogerson, George Thomas, did not have the opportunity to address the jury before members were discharged.

On Tuesday Justice Bellew said the NSW sheriff had confirmed that a court was available on August 18 to begin a new trial, and he formally set down that date.


TWO former detectives charged with murdering a Sydney student will go on trial before a jury today. Glen McNamara and Roger Rogerson face charges of murdering 20-year-old UTS student Jamie Gao in May last year. They are also accused of drug supply. Their trial at the NSW Supreme Court at Darlinghurst is expected to get underway later this morning. Police have alleged the pair lured Gao to a storage unit in Sydney’s southwest, with Mr Gao attending the meeting carrying almost three kilograms of the drug ice, or crystal methamphetamine.

Roger Rogerson.

Roger Rogerson. Source: DailyTelegraph

Former detective Glen McNamara being escorted to prison after his arrest.

Former detective Glen McNamara being escorted to prison after his arrest. Source: News Corp Australia

Police have alleged the trio were spotted on CCTV entering the storage unit. Ten minutes later, cameras allegedly captured McNamara and Rogerson leaving, dragging a surfboard bag. Mr Gao’s bound body was found floating in waters off Sydney six days later. Both McNamara and Rogerson deny the charges and entered not guilty pleas at a previous hearing. In January they waived their right to a committal hearing in order to get to trial as soon as possible.

The mafia, metadata and me: the day Stan called me into an ecstasy sting


The mafia, metadata and me: the day Stan called me into an ecstasy sting

Nick McKenzie

Mafia in Australia – Drugs, Murder and Politics

The mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations, as this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation reveals.

When the phone vibrated in my pocket in September 2007, I had no idea the incoming call would plunge me into the middle of Australia’s biggest Mafia investigation in decades.

I was also unaware that the caller, who identified himself as “Stan”, was, in fact, a driven and entrepreneurial drug trafficker from Griffith, NSW, called Pat Barbaro.

Federal Police and Customs agents with some of the Ecstasy and Cocaine after the drug bust.Federal Police and Customs agents with some of the Ecstasy and Cocaine after the drug bust. Photo: John Woudstra

Barbaro had organised the world’s biggest ecstasy shipment into Melbourne in June 2007. But by the time he rang me, three months later, he was unable to locate the shipping container packed with his $500 million load.

Calling me, and then sending a series of texts from several mobile phones registered in fake names, was part of a desperate plan by Barbaro to either locate his shipment or confirm his suspicions that the police had seized his drugs.

He was hoping I would reach out to police or waterfront sources to do this, and then report my findings. To say his plan failed spectacularly would be an understatement.

Unbeknownst to either me or “Stan,” police were intercepting the text messages, which included detailed descriptions of the size and likely location of the drug shipment. These text messages, and analysis of the corresponding metadata, were used to prove Barbaro had organised the drug shipment.

But that was not the only implication. Over the past six months, federal police have used the scenario as a case study to convince the Federal Government of the need to pass laws ensuring telcos store the metadata generated when a person uses a phone or computer.

As the hulking Barbaro walked around Melbourne’s CBD, meeting bikies, South Asian money launderers and other Mafia bosses, he carried up to a dozen phones. One was his personal mobile, with a subscription under his own name.

The other phones were “burners”, which were registered in false names and regularly replaced with new phones. The problem for Barbaro is that these burners were hitting the same mobile phone towers as his regular phone.

Barbaro’s personal phone and the burners were pinging off the same towers so often that police were able to prove the burners belonged to Barbaro.

According to the Director of Public Prosecution’s Andrea Pavleka, the texts sent from the “Stan” burners “showed that Barbaro had critical knowledge of the contents of that container”.

“That was a terrific link for the prosecution to have in this particular matter.”

Back in 2007, I knew none of this.

In fact, had I known my communications were being intercepted, I would have been furious.

Many of my sources are banned by their employer from speaking to me, or any other reporter, so the prospect of any innocent whistleblower being outed would have concerned me greatly.

I only learned this many months later of the interception. From all the checks I have since conducted – and there have been many – no source of mine was compromised and the AFP agents involved acted professionally and with regard to the sensitivities of my trade.

That said, ever since 2007, I have implemented a range of measures to protect sources’ communications — steps not unlike those suggested by Malcolm Turnbull during the recent debate about metadata.

Ever since the phone buzzed that day in my pocket, and “Stan” briefly entered my life, I’ve been especially conscious about how a person’s communications leave a trail, no matter how careful they are. It is a lesson the now jailed Barbaro has, no doubt, also learned well.

Watch part two of a joint Fairfax and ABC Four Corners mafia investigation on ABC1 8.30 PM Monday.

Terror diverts focus from Mafia ‘board of directors’


Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Michael Bachelard

Inside a mafia ecstasy sting

The Calabrian mafia was responsible for the world’s biggest ecstasy importation in 2007. As Fairfax Media and the ABC can reveal, it didn’t go to plan…

Italy’s top anti-Mafia prosecutor and Australian police are warning that the massive diversion of law-enforcement resources to combat terrorism is eroding the fight against the Mafia and other serious organised crime groups.

Australian authorities have failed for decades to dismantle the “board of directors” of Calabrian Mafia godfathers across Australia, allowing them to entrench their drug trafficking operations, build alliances with outlaw bikie gangs and infiltrate government and police agencies.

The Mafia's reach in VictoriaThe Mafia’s reach in Victoria.

A 2013 multi-agency police report warns “Ndrangheta Transnational Australian Groups” are posing an extreme risk to Australia.

Italian anti-Mafia magistrate Dr Nicola Gratteri has also warned that the Australian government has risked allowing these organised crime groups to prosper.

“When social alarm is provoked over terrorism, governments are forced to invest in terrorism and not in Mafia … the Mafia celebrates because they know there are fewer resources,” Dr Gratteri said.

The Mafia's reach in NSW.
The Mafia’s reach in NSW.

Senior police across Australia have confidentially backed these comments, saying that while terrorism was a clear priority, the focus on suspected jihadists had meant the shifting of important resources away from the fight against organised crime.

Three weeks ago, Dr Gratteri oversaw an international anti-Mafia operation, codenamed Santa Fe, which attacked the operations of the powerful Alvaro Mafia clan, seizing tonnes of cocaine and making dozens of arrests.

Confidential Italian and Australian police files state that the Alvaro clan has powerful cells operating in Australia, allegedly headed by Adelaide construction figure, Paul Alvaro, 64, and a NSW man. Mr Alvaro did not answer specific questions, but he denies any links to organised crime

The pair is aligned to a handful of figures in capital cities across the nation and in Griffith, NSW, who – according to a police assessment – operate as “an executive Board of Directors” for the Calabrian Mafia, or “Ndrangheta”.

The board “comes together on an ad hoc basis particularly in times of crisis or when the low profile of [the Calabrian Mafia], so carefully cultivated and jealously protected, is threatened,” police reports say.

NSW Police intelligence lists “the main” Calabrian Mafia clans as “the Sergi family, Trimboli family, Romeo family” who are all “based predominantly in the Griffith area.” Only a very small number of members of these families are engaged in crime and there are many Italian families who share these common surnames but who are not connected to the Calabrian Mafia.

“The criminal activities engaged in by this network have been engaged in for decades with a high level of success. Members of the network have occasionally been apprehended and imprisoned, but on the whole, internal wrangling appears to have exacted a higher toll, as family members are murdered not infrequently,” says one NSW police assessment.

In Victoria, court files allege that wealthy Melbourne businessman, Giuseppe “Bebbe” Manariti, was linked to the world’s biggest ecstasy importation in Melbourne in 2007.

Commonwealth prosecutors have alleged that Mr Manariti was briefed by the Mafia importers, stating that he was “interested in unfolding events” linked to the massive shipment.

Mr Manariti, who has never faced criminal charges, is a close associate of alleged Melbourne Mafia boss Tony Madafferi and the pair, along with deceased Mafia leader Rosario Gangemi, are considered by police to have previously formed a “trinity” that directed the Calabrian Mafia’s Melbourne operations.

Both Mr Manariti and Mr Madafferi were previously identified in a top secret 1995 anti-Mafia operation as members of the group also known as the Honoured Society.

Mr Madafferi could not be reached for comment but has previously denied any involvement in organised crime. Mr Manariti could not be reached for comment.

The police files also reveal that the Calabrian Mafia has built close ties to outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs), including the Rebels and Bandidos.

“This is particularly evident with identified connections to the Sydney and North Coast Bandidos OMCG and the Canberra and Batemans Bay Rebels OMCG. There is also intelligence of links to the Finks OMCG through associates.”

Dr Gratteri’s warning about the diversion of resources away from the organised crime fight echoes a classified National Crime Authority report in 2003.

“It is suggested that they [Australia’s Mafia cells] will neither decline nor cease their activities in the foreseeable future due to their long entrenched history in criminality in Australia, the steady market demand for cannabis and other illicit drugs and the diversion of law enforcement efforts to other areas.”

Watch part two of a joint Fairfax and ABC Four Corners mafia investigation on ABC1 8.30 PM Monday.

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