Drug ring raids net historic $360m cocaine haul


abc.net.au

Drug ring raids net historic $360m cocaine haul

By Siobhan Fogarty

Updated 18 minutes ago

Thu 29 Dec 2016, 12:17pm

A former NRL player and a Bondi businessman have been linked to a drug ring after New South Wales Police recorded the biggest cocaine haul in Australia’s history.

Key points:

  • 1.1 tonnes of cocaine worth $360 million seized by AFP and NSW police
  • Two seizures of cocaine make the biggest haul of the drug in Australian history
  • 15 men arrested including a former NRL player and a Bondi businessman

The joint strike force between Australian Federal Police and the New South Wales Police drug squad arrested 15 men and seized about $360 million worth of cocaine.

Former Roosters player John Tobin is one of the accused smugglers, along with Bondi businessman Darren Mohr.

The criminal syndicate was allegedly using a trawler based at the Sydney Fish Market to meet a “mother ship” from South America to bring drugs into the country.

About 500 kilograms of the drug was seized on Christmas Day at Brooklyn on the central coast of New South Wales.

Police allege 600 kilograms was seized in Tahiti and 32 kilograms of heroin was found in Fiji with both loads destined for the market in Australia.

Acting Assistant Commissioner, Chris Sheehan, said the police operation had been running for almost three years and escalated with the arrests over the Christmas period.

“The criminal syndicate we have dismantled over the last few days was a robust, resilient and determined syndicate,” he said.

“This is the largest cocaine seizure we have had in Australia.

“It posed an ongoing and continued threat to the Australian community and without the work of our police, would still be in action today.”

Tip-off from community led to bust

Assistant Police Commissioner, Mark Jenkins said a member of the community gave them a tip-off two and a half years ago that led to the cocaine haul.

“As a result, over one tonne of drugs has been prevented from reaching the streets of New South Wales and harming the community,” he said.

“That small piece of information has resulted in 15 arrests and a large seizure of drugs.”

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Video: Police seized 500kg worth of cocaine in NSW (ABC News)

Officers allege the group of men, aged from 29 to 63, are involved in the Australian criminal syndicate responsible for the attempted imports.

They have been charged with serious drug importation offences and eleven of the 15 men have appeared before Parramatta Local Court and were refused bail.

A 49-year-old man and a 63-year-old man are due to appear before Central Local Court today.

Two other men, a 33-year-old and 39-year-old are also expected to front Nowra Local Court today after they were arrested at Ulladulla yesterday.

Police said they were confident all alleged members of the criminal syndicate were in custody.

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Video: Arrests made after $360m worth of cocaine seized (ABC News)

Topics: crime, law-crime-and-justice, drug-offences, nsw

First posted about 4 hours agoThu 29 Dec 2016, 7:48am


smh.com.au

Police smash cocaine ring at Sydney Fish Market in Christmas Day raid

By Rachel Olding, Latika Bourke, Rachel Browne

A former rugby league first grade player, a Bondi entrepreneur and a several fishermen are among 15 men arrested on Christmas Day in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring bust.

Police will allege the men were imported more than a tonne of cocaine via the iconic Sydney Fish Market and other NSW ports.

Australian Federal Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan described the alleged syndicate as “robust, resilient and determined”.

He told a packed Sydney press conference that the 15 arrested men were “determined to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of the community.”

The seizure of 500kg of cocaine in Sydney, 600kg of the drug in Tahiti and 32kg of heroin in Fiji make it the largest drug bust of its kind in Australia.

NSW Police State Crime Commander Mark Jenkins said all the drugs originated in South America before being transferred across the South Pacific by ship.

Several of the men were arrested on Christmas Day as they docked a shipping vessel named Dalrymple at the Sydney Fish Markets.

It’s alleged the boat was used to ferry drugs between NSW ports and a larger ship stationed out at sea that held drugs smuggled from Chile.

Operation Okesi, comprising officers from NSW Police, Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force, started over two-and-a-half-years after police received a “thread” of information.

Since then, five alleged importations by the sophisticated syndicate have been thwarted.

It includes the seizure of 32 kilograms of heroin by authorities in Fiji in December 2014 and the seizure of 606 kilograms of cocaine by authorities in Tahiti in March.

Officers then observed the Dalrymple depart the Sydney Fish Markets on December 3 and travel to the Central Coast. The vessel was monitored by Maritime Border Command and the NSW Police’s Marine Area Command.

On Christmas night, officers watched the crew launch a small one-man dinghy which allegedly travelled to Parlsey Bay at Brooklyn on the NSW Central Coast and met with two other men.

All three were arrested and about 500 kilograms of cocaine was seized from the dinghy.

Several other men were arrested on board the Dalrymple vessel as it docked at Sydney Fish Market on Christmas night.

A police source told Fairfax Media the syndicate thought they could take advantage of the festive season by striking on Christmas Day.

Authorities valued the total amount of cocaine seized at $360 million.

Among the men arrested is former Eastern Suburbs Roosters player John Roland Boyd Tobin, who played 125 matches as lock forward in the 1980s.

Bondi entrepreneur Darren John Mohr was also arrested. He lists his occupation as the owner Martini Motors and is also the former owner of the Bondi Rescue HQ cafe.

His Instagram profile shows a love of Harley Davidson motorbikes, Rolls Royce cars and being shirtless.

Police also arrested Reuben John Dawe, who lists his occupation as a maritime worker and commercial fisherman Joseph Pirrello, 63.

Other man arrested in the sting include Simon Peter Spero, 56, Graham Toa Toa, 42, Stuart Ayrton, 54, Jonathan Cooper, 29, Richard Lipton, 37, Frank D’Agostino, 54, and Benjamin Sara, 31.

They were all refused bail in Parramatta Bail Court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two other men, extradited from Tasmania and Queensland, will appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Thursday as well as two men arrested in the Nowra area.

Footage released by police show multiple men being arrested in the dark from on-board the Dalrymple fishing vessel.

One of the men shown with his hands tied behind his back is wearing only a pair of boxer shorts covered in cartoon pictures of crocodiles.

“This operation has been running for more than two-and-a-half years and culminated over the Christmas period,” a police statement reads.

The men were aged between 29 and 63 years old.  Police are due to address the media at 11am on Thursday.

Alleged crime family member Matwali Chaouk pleads ‘guilty’ to firearms offences


A MEMBER of an alleged Melbourne crime family has pleaded guilty to firearms charges stemming from police raids in June this year.

Matwali Chaouk at an earlier court appearance

Matwali Chaouk, 26, admitted to one count of possessing an unregistered firearm while being a prohibited person and two counts of possessing ammunition without a licence.

Chaouk appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court via videolink from prison for the brief hearing today.

Police said on June 8, they found Chaouk wearing a black bum bag with a gun inside when they raided a Burgess St, Brooklyn home.

Members of the Santiago Taskforce raided a Brooklyn home on June 8 this year and found Matwali carrying the semi-automatic pistol in a bum bag he was wearing across his chest.

“He appeared a little shaken by our presence and quickly flipped the bum bag around to the back of his body,” Sen-Det Anna Dickinson says in her tendered statement.

“I was present and observed the removal and subsequent search of the bum bag worn by Chaouk after some objection from him.” probably scared the shit out him

Ammunition was also found at the house.

Early the next morning police raided Chaouk’s Brooklyn apartment and found more ammunition.

The charges do not relate to a further raid conducted by police on the Chaouk family compound in Geelong Rd, Brooklyn, in July.

In August, Chaouk’s father Macchour Chaouk was shot dead at the Geelong Rd home.

Chaouk will appear in the Victorian County Court on November 1 for a pre-sentence hearing.

Alleged crime family member Matwali Chaouk pleads 'guilty' to firearms offences


A MEMBER of an alleged Melbourne crime family has pleaded guilty to firearms charges stemming from police raids in June this year.

Matwali Chaouk at an earlier court appearance

Matwali Chaouk, 26, admitted to one count of possessing an unregistered firearm while being a prohibited person and two counts of possessing ammunition without a licence.

Chaouk appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court via videolink from prison for the brief hearing today.

Police said on June 8, they found Chaouk wearing a black bum bag with a gun inside when they raided a Burgess St, Brooklyn home.

Members of the Santiago Taskforce raided a Brooklyn home on June 8 this year and found Matwali carrying the semi-automatic pistol in a bum bag he was wearing across his chest.

“He appeared a little shaken by our presence and quickly flipped the bum bag around to the back of his body,” Sen-Det Anna Dickinson says in her tendered statement.

“I was present and observed the removal and subsequent search of the bum bag worn by Chaouk after some objection from him.” probably scared the shit out him

Ammunition was also found at the house.

Early the next morning police raided Chaouk’s Brooklyn apartment and found more ammunition.

The charges do not relate to a further raid conducted by police on the Chaouk family compound in Geelong Rd, Brooklyn, in July.

In August, Chaouk’s father Macchour Chaouk was shot dead at the Geelong Rd home.

Chaouk will appear in the Victorian County Court on November 1 for a pre-sentence hearing.

Chaouk payback theory in Melbourne murder


UPDATE

A man is helping police with inquiries.

A WAR between factions linked to an alleged Melbourne Lebanese crime family may have led to the fatal shooting of a man in a western suburbs industrial park.

Two Altona Meadows men, aged 60 and 25, believed to be father and son, were questioned over the shooting about 11am in Techno Park in Williamstown North yesterday.

The 60-year-old was released last night. The 25-year-old was still in police custody pending further inquiries.

The dead man is in his 30s, but his identity is yet to be confirmed. The Herald Sun has been told the victim arrived in a vehicle with a number plate that did not match it.

Police would not say if anyone arrested at gunpoint outside the factory was already under surveillance or if the firearm had been used in a previous shooting.

The scene after a fatal shooting at Techno Park Drive in Williamstown

POLICE are investigating whether a man shot dead in Melbourne’s west today was the victim of a payback murder between the warring Chaouk and Haddara crime families.

A 25-year-old man and a 60-year-old man have been arrested over the shooting death of a man at Techno Park Drive in the Williamstown Industrial Park in Williamstown North about 11am (AEST) on Monday.

Witnesses told police the victim, believed to be in his 30s, had arrived at the self-storage facility when a single shot was fired from a longarm firearm.

Homicide Squad detective John Potter told reporters that police are investigating whether there is connection to the Chaouk-Haddara rivalry.

The patriarch of the Chaouk family, 65-year-old Macchour Chaouk, was gunned down in the backyard of his home in suburban Brooklyn last month.

A member of a rival Lebanese clan, Ahmed Haddara, was taken into custody following Mr Chaouk’s death but was later released.
“It’s no secret that police have concerns about the incident involving Mr Chaouk,” Detective Potter said.

“I am unable to confirm whether this is a payback – I can say that it’s one option that we are looking at.

“We are concerned about the potential for further violence and we just ask people to remain calm and go about their normal business without getting involved in this incident.”

Police say they have recovered a long arm weapon at the scene.

PEOPLES OPINIONS ARE PRETTY CLEAR ON THESE THINGS. let them kill each other…have a read of these newspaper comments…

  • nh jan of Brisbane Posted at 5:12 AM Today

    Here we go again, factions in Victoria who think they’re a law unto themselves. I wonder if the police will let this spiral out of control like they did the last infamous gang wars that plagued Melbourne?

    Comment 1 of 11

  • Darren of Lysterfield Posted at 5:34 AM Today

    One wonders what would happen to a family of Aussies intending to setup a crime syndicate in Lebanon. “the lucky country” takes on a whole new meaning when we’re fast becoming the worlds doormat.

    Comment 2 of 11

  • David of Point Cook Posted at 6:34 AM Today

    Can all you scum that live in Altona Meadows just p-ss off from this area? You give all of us hard working decent people a bad name.

    Comment 3 of 11

  • Alec Watson of Hawthorn Posted at 6:49 AM Today

    “A long-arm firearm, such as a rifle or shot gun, was used to shoot the victim.” Big difference between the two a rifle would leave a small entry wound and to kill someone from that would have to hit a vital organ. A shot gun would leave a massive wound depending on how close it was with the victim hemorrhaging so bad his body would go into shock and dye from loss of blood.

    Comment 4 of 11

  • TakeYourShoesOffInMyHouse Posted at 6:55 AM Today

    another good Australian shooting up the place

    Comment 5 of 11

  • Two up Todd Posted at 7:02 AM Today

    Any chance the vic government can put all the scum of Melbourne into the MCG for one night, return in the morning burn the dead and lock up the survivors ?

    Comment 6 of 11

  • Leafy burbs of Melbourne Posted at 7:19 AM Today

    Oh what a nice looking, respectable young man he is. NOT. What a typical bogan westie who’s so tough he can only use weapons. Rid Australia of this scum.

    Comment 7 of 11

  • Hans C of Dandenong Posted at 7:20 AM Today

    Look at these people killing themselves over god knows what it is they want in life.Power,greed and drugs can’t be ruled out.Why isn’t the police doing enough to cull down these murders.One of these days lots of people will just die for no reason if this keep going.Shame on them.

    Comment 8 of 11

  • Jack of the sea Posted at 7:38 AM Today

    What is the big deal? Let these filthy low-life scum kill each other, it will be a blessing for Melbourne.

    Comment 9 of 11

  • Common Sense of Melbourne Posted at 7:44 AM Today

    Multiculturism at work

    Comment 10 of 11

  • Darish Posted at 7:59 AM Today

    Its good living in a tolerant society where peices of crap like these idiots being featured here can walk our society unchallenged. God bless em

    Comment 11 of 11