A 34-year-old man from Sydney has been charged with importing cocaine in air cargo shipments, as part of a drug operation allegedly linked to a fugitive drug trafficker.
- Police allege Rose Bay man was part of a major drugs union in Greece and the UK
- Cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine were found in 62 separate small package shipments
- Alleged offenses carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment
Police allege that the arrested man, Bennet Schwartz, 34, is an associate of the suspected and now fugitive drug trafficker, Mostafa Baluch.
Mr Baluch went missing this week after allegedly cutting his electronic ankle monitoring bracelet, four days after being released on bail.
Mr Baluch faces a life sentence for an alleged attempt to import 900 kilograms of cocaine – with an estimated market value of $ 270 million – into Australia from Ecuador.
Mr Schwartz, of Rose Bay in eastern Sydney, has been charged after Australian Federal Police (AFP) seized three shipments containing 27 kilograms of cocaine.
The consignments were in separate packages of four, nine and 14 kilograms of cocaine, coming from the UK and Greece, police said.
Police allege six other packages contained large amounts of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
AFP Superintendent Matthew Parsons said police had information that Mr Schwartz had contact with Mr Baluch before he left on the run.
“He was questioned, he did not provide any information on Baluch’s location,” Superintendent Parsons said.
The cocaine seizure sparked a joint investigation by the Federal Police and the Australian Law Enforcement Integrity Commission, which began early last year.
Police allege Mr Schwartz was part of a union and told other members he had access to a member of the Australian Border Force who could provide information on the condition of the cargo.
Superintendent Parsons said this was fictitious, alleging that Mr. Schwartz instead used commercial tracking platforms to monitor drugs coming in from overseas.
Yesterday, police raided Mr Schwartz’s home, where they discovered encrypted cell phones, which they claim to have used under a false name to track 62 shipments.
Superintendent Parsons said there was a high demand for illicit drugs in New South Wales.
“Shipments of this size come as no surprise to law enforcement given the changes organized crime syndicates have made in response to the current environment, moving towards sending small packages by air freight. and postal mail to try to avoid detection, âhe said.
Mr Schwartz has not applied for bail and is scheduled to appear again in central local court on December 22.