A man serving time in a Hunter jail is among three charged - and two others that police are seeking to extradite from Dubai - accused of being part of an international criminal syndicate involving alleged large-scale drug importation and supply.
The arrests came as part of a seven-year investigation by the state's Organised Crime Squad and NSW Crime Commission - who formed Strike Force Millstream.
Police on Tuesday arrested a 34-year-old man at Muswellbrook Police Station and charged him with two counts of supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime and participate in criminal group - contribute criminal activity.
Police allege the man was involved in the supply of more than 12kg of MDMA and 7kg of methylamphetamine across NSW and that he dealt with $3 million as the proceeds of crime.
The man, who the Newcastle Herald understands was already serving jail time at St Heliers Correctional Centre at Muswellbrook for other offences prior to the latest charges, remains in custody and will face court.
Two other men - a 57-year-old from Baulkham Hills and a 36-year-old from Erina - were also arrested and charged with serious alleged drug offences.
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The arrests came after police searched properties in the Sydney suburbs of Baulkham Hills, Badgerys Creek and Jamisontown on Tuesday morning.
Last week, Dubai police arrested two other men - aged 34 and 37 - in the United Arab Emirates based on Interpol Red Notices issued earlier this month following a NSW Police arrest warrant application.
NSW Police are seeking to have the pair extradited to Australia.
Police said on Tuesday that, during the course of the investigation, Strike Force Millstream detectives had uncovered a significant transnational drug importation and money laundering operation as well as other organised criminal activity.
Strike force investigators have previously charged 16 people over their alleged roles.
Organised Crime Squad commander Detective Superintendent Martin Fileman said it ended one of the squad's longest running drug importation investigations.
"For nearly seven years, our detectives have been working to identify individuals involved in this alleged criminal enterprise responsible for organising and facilitating large-scale drug importations into Australia," he said.
"Throughout the investigation, officers identified a transnational organised crime syndicate involved in facilitating the importation of more than 2.87 tonnes of MDMA and methylamphetamine - with an estimated potential street value of more than $150 million.
"Police will allege members of the syndicate dealt with proceeds of crime worth more than $54 million, allowing them to travel the world in luxury and live a life of opulence - while they knowingly preyed on the vulnerabilities of others."