Untitled

Five charged after investigation into "rip on, rip off" method of accessing drugs concealed in shipping containers

Friday, 20 October 2023 03:59:56 AM

© State of NSW (NSW Police Force). For editorial use only. No sublicensing of any NSW Police Force supplied image or footage allowed on a standalone basis without the express written consent of NSW Police Force. NSW Police Force attribution notice and logo to be retained on all copies of supplied images or footage with the moral rights to no false attribution and of integrity in all its images and footage asserted.

Drug and Firearms Squad detectives have charged five men following an ongoing investigation into the supply of large commercial quantities of drugs concealed in shipping containers.

Strike Force Biles was established by State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad in May 2023 to investigate a criminal syndicate allegedly using a method commonly referred to as “rip on, rip off” to access prohibited drugs concealed in legitimate shipping containers.

To date, strike force detectives – with assistance from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) – have seized 201kg of cocaine from three containers, with a street value of $105m.

Six people have already been charged for various related offences, which remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, just after 6am yesterday (Thursday 19 October 2023), strike force detectives – with assistance from the Public Order & Riot Squad and Raptor Squad – executed eight search warrants across Woodpark, Rydalmere, Wentworthville, Plumpton, Merrylands, St Clair, and Seven Hills.

At the Woodpark address, police arrested a 18-year-old man who they will allege directed the local criminal syndicate in ‘ripping off’ the containers.

He was taken to Granville Police Station where he was charged with 12 offences including knowingly/recklessly direct criminal group, take part in supply large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, manufacture prohibited drug, knowingly deal with proceeds and property proceeds of crime, and possessing ammunition, DECCD, housebreaking implements, and means of disguising face with intent to commit indictable offence.

The man was refused bail to appear in a Children’s Court today (Friday 20 October 2023).

A 28-year-old man was arrested at the Plumpton address and taken to Blacktown Police Station, where he was charged with eight offences including participate in criminal group, take part in supply large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, possess ammunition without holding a licence or permit, and possessing housebreaking implements and means of disguising face with intent to commit indictable offence.

He was refused bail and appeared in Blacktown Local Court yesterday.

In Merrylands, police arrested an 18-year-old man who was taken to Granville Police Station, where he was charged with 11 offences including participate in a criminal group, take part in supply of large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and possessing an unauthorised pistol, DECCD, housebreaking implements, and means of disguising face with intent to commit indictable offence.

He was refused bail to appear in Parramatta Local Court today.

Another 18-year-old man was arrested in Bondi and taken to Bondi Police Station, where he was charged with seven offences including participate in criminal group, take part in supply of large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and possessing housebreaking implements and means of disguising face with intent to commit indictable offence.

He was refused bail to appear in a Children’s Court today.

In Seven Hills, police arrested a 25-year-old man. He was taken to Blacktown Police Station where he was charged with participate in criminal group, deal with property proceeds of crime, and possessing ammunition without holding a licence or permit, and identity info to commit indictable offence.

The 25-year-old was refused bail and appeared in Blacktown Local Court yesterday.

During searches of the properties, police located a number of items relevant to their investigation including $37,000 cash, 4kg of methylamphetamine, 3kg of cocaine, a replica firearm, ammunition, electronics and luxury jewellery and watches.

All the items were seized to undergo further forensic examination.

Police will allege in court the 18-year-old Woodpark man received contracts alerting him to a shipment of drugs and directed the group to identify and then break into the containers concealing the prohibited substances.

Those drugs – usually cocaine – were then supplied to a nominated recipient before the group would receive a payment.

Investigations under Strike Force Biles continue.

Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.