Terror-funding investigation uncovers syndicate that imported $9m worth of illegal tobacco
Affected Countries: australia;
Police investigating terrorism funding have dismantled multiple layers of an organised crime syndicate that allegedly imported more than seven tonnes of illegal tobacco worth $9 million, with the arrest of eight men across south-west Sydney.
Strike force investigators descended on shop fronts and residential properties on Tuesday, executing 16 search warrants as part of a joint agency investigation into terrorism funding.
Two men, aged 38 and 39, were arrested at a café at Sydney Olympic Park around 8.15am, while a further six men – aged between 22 and 42 – were arrested later in the day.
It is alleged those targeted included the mastermind of the syndicate, as well as mid-level participants, including shop owners where the illegal tobacco was allegedly sold.
The investigation was first launched in November 2017 by the NSW Police Terrorism Investigation Squad and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to examine terror-related funding, however it quickly uncovered the south-west Sydney syndicate, which had allegedly traded illegally imported loose leaf tobacco and cigarettes for at least 18 months.
Investigators have so far observed $1.2 million in cash and more than seven tonnes of illicit tobacco pass through the hands of the syndicate.