Man arrested near Newcastle as part of multi-state drug bust

The Australian Federal Police have dismantled multi-state drug syndicate, from which a man was arrested in Raymond Terrace.

The AFP says the network allegedly imported and manufactured hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into the country under the direction of a Colombian organised crime syndicate.

As part of the operation, nine people have been arrested across Queensland, the Northern Territory and New South Wales overnight and charged with a variety of serious drug and money laundering offences carrying maximum penalties of up to life imprisonment.

One of them, a 38-year-old man from Western Sydney, was arrested at Raymond Terrace as he drove back to Sydney from Queensland. When AFP officers searched his utility they allegedly found about 11 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside two small fridges. 

The investigation began with a Colombian-born Sydney man, 38, known to law enforcement. This man picked up a dual Spanish-Colombian dual national from Sydney Airport on 18 May 2022, and their subsequent activities led investigators to suspect they were involved in illegal activity.

The pair travelled to the Gold Coast in late May, meeting with a Gold Coast man who allegedly organised the construction of a purpose-built extraction shed on a rural property at Durong, which is about 300 kilometres northwest of Brisbane.

AFP officers arrested a Darwin man outside a gym on Thursday evening, they executed a search warrant at his home and seized thousands of dollars in cash detected by ABF Firearm and Currency Detector Dogs, electronic devices and steroids. They also seized a 7.8 metre boat, suspected to be an instrument of crime.

The AFP is investigating if the vessel was acquired to collect illicit drugs dropped at sea hundreds of kilometres off the Northern Territory coast.

The man arrested in Raymond Terrace appeared in Raymond Terrace Local Court on Friday and did not apply for bail. 

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