International drug ring smashed in Australia
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) ” A global task force smashed a sophisticated drug ring that was running huge amounts of cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy across six countries, Australian police said Thursday.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, the syndicate supplied drugs to Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and the west coast of the United States, John Lehmann of the Australian Joint Asian Crime Group told reporters.
Forty people ” including 14 Australian and Canadian nationals in Australia ” were arrested in a series of raids over the past six months, Lehmann said.
International police seized 1,322 pounds of cocaine, 244 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and 182 pounds of ecstasy in the raids.
Lehmann said the syndicate communicated in code to transport the drugs from their point of manufacture in Canada through China and into Australia. Police were able to crack the code and infiltrate the gang, he said.
“It was a very sophisticated operation,” Lehmann said. “They were desperate to ply their trade … because it’s a huge moneymaking venture.”
The 14 men in Australia have been charged with multiple drug offenses, including conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of drugs, which carries a maximum life sentence, and supplying a commercial quantity of drugs, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.