Sydney man arrested for largest heroin importation in Australian history

Illicit drugs like heroin cause significant harm to the Australian community; they are an impost on our health system and negatively impact every aspect of society."

A Sydney man has been charged for allegedly orchestrating one of the largest heroin importations in recent Australian history.

AFP Eastern Command investigators assisted by the AFP’s Offshore Disruption Taskforce Operation Gain arrested the man, 35, at Sydney International Airport yesterday morning (27 May, 2023) following his deportation from Türkiye by Turkish authorities.

Police will allege the man has been based in a number of countries since March 2020 and is responsible for organising the importation of 347.9kg of heroin into Sydney in December 2020, while he was based in Thailand. It will also be alleged this man has extensive links to transnational organised crime groups, which helped facilitate this importation.

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Another Sydney man was charged for his role in the importation in September 2021, part of a joint investigation with the Australian Border Force and NSW Police. He remains before the courts.

The AFP’s Operation Gain notified Turkish authorities through the AFP’s international post in Türkiye that the alleged organiser was suspected to be in their jurisdiction. Turkish authorities advised the AFP they had detained the man in January 2023 and would be deporting him to Australia.

The man arrived on a flight into Sydney yesterday morning and was charged with importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs contrary to section 307.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.

He is due to appear in Parramatta Local Court today, 28 May 2023.

AFP Commander Transnational Operations Richard Chin praised the diligent work of AFP Eastern Command investigators, Operation Gain and the Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST).

“The AFP has a priority focus on transnational serious and organised crime figures targeting Australia from overseas. This arrest is a testament to our close partnership with Turkish authorities who continue to demonstrate their strong commitment to creating a hostile environment for organised crime in Türkiye, ensuring these groups cannot operate,” he said.

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“Illicit drugs like heroin cause significant harm to the Australian community; they are an impost on our health system and negatively impact every aspect of society.

“The AFP remains committed to working with our global partners through our International Command to disrupt organised crime groups engaged in this activity and bring them to account for their actions”.

The following services provide people with access to support and information.

  • For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
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