Three men were arrested Tuesday 21 June as part of a Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (JOCTF) investigation into the importation of cocaine into Melbourne.
A 39-year-old Spotswood man, 26-year-old Reservoir man and 66-year-old Greek foreign national were all arrested following the importation of approximately 45kg of cocaine – with a street value of approximately $20M – hidden in a jukebox from Greece, which was detected by Australian Border Force officers.
The consignment was collected and transported to a residential property in Sunshine North where Victoria Police and Australian Federal Police members later made the arrests.
Police also searched two additional residential properties in Spotswood and Reservoir and two commercial premises in Toorak and Kingsville.
They subsequently seized a number of items including two Mercedes-Benz vehicles, a Harley Davidson motorbike, luxury watches, jewellery and items of clothing, as well as various drugs and a significant quantity of cash.
Victoria Police Acting Detective Superintendent Andrew Stamper said these drugs had the potential to cause immense harm to the Victorian community.
“To be able to make these arrests and seizures highlights the continued local demand there is for a range of drugs. Ultimately, we really need to challenge attitudes around the use of illicit drugs in the community,” Det. Supt. Stamper said.
The trio were interviewed by police and the 39-year-old Spotswood man and 26-year-old Reservoir man were subsequently charged with importation of a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs and attempted possession of a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs.
They faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 22 June and were remanded in custody.
The 66-year-old Greek national was released pending further enquiries.
AFP Detective Inspector Mark McKiernan said it was likely the illicit drugs would have been distributed across Victoria by criminals associated with serious organised crime.
“We will allege that the men arrested yesterday are significant syndicate members,’’ D/Inspector McKiernan said.
The arrests formed part of a four-month JOCTF investigation into the alleged importation of drugs by a Melbourne-based organised crime syndicate.
Police believe the syndicate has been involved in previous border-controlled drug importations.
In total, about 45kg of cocaine has been seized as part of this investigation, which has a street value of approximately $20M.
The JOCTF consists of members of the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Department of Home Affairs.
The investigation remains ongoing.