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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Couple in 50s jailed over 600kg drug seizure

A Sydney couple in their 50s man have been sentenced to a combined 10 years in jail for their roles in an international drug syndicate that was importing and manufacturing hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine.

The pair are the last of four people to be sentenced after a Joint Organised Crime Group (JOCG) investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and NSW Police Force’s Organised Crime Squad, which resulted in the seizure of 621 kilograms of items containing methamphetamine.

The 53-year-old woman and 55-year-old man pleaded guilty to drug manufacturing offences in July. 

Operation Sudwala was launched in October 2017 to investigate a Hong Kong-based syndicate suspected of importing large commercial quantities of methamphetamine from Hong Kong into Australia, concealed within such items as yoga mats and concrete umbrella stands. 

Investigators, with assistance from the New Zealand Police Force, identified a number of people, each acting as a so-called “shore party” in Australia to receive the illicit importations.

In January 2018, a Campsie man, then aged 53, became the first of the group arrested when JOCG investigators executed a search warrant at his home and found an active clandestine laboratory. Police say the lab was active at the time, with approximately 60 to 70 litres of methamphetamine seized during the warrant. 

He was charged with manufacturing a large commercial quantity of methamphetamine. 

A 66-year-old man and now 53-year-old woman were charged with offences related to the manufacturing of prohibited drugs in July 2018, after investigators found another clandestine laboratory at a property in Beverley Hills, NSW. 

Further investigations into the Beverly Hills property led to the arrest of a 55-year-old man in December 2018 charged with drug manufacturing offences. 

The 53-year-old woman was sentenced on Friday (18 September) at the Downing Centre Court to four years and nine months years in jail, with a non-parole period of two and six months. 

The 55-year-old man charged in December 2018 was also sentenced at the Downing Centre Court on Friday to five years and three months in jail, with a non-parole period of three years.

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