A Sydney man accused of supplying fake meth has been charged on the first day police ramp up the second phase of an international operation into organised crime.
The 33-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday, a day before officers launched a nationally coordinated strike against motorcycle gangs, organised crime and drug distributors.
He is the fourth person charged in conjunction with an investigation by Australian Federal Police into an alleged drug syndicate with links to a Turkey-based Comanchero gang member.
Police allege the man paid $75,000 for what he thought was one kilogram of methamphetamine before supplying it to another person but the drugs turned out to be soda crystals.
The investigation forms part of the broader Operation Ironside where up to 160 alleged criminals are in police sights.
Ironside was a three-year covert operation by the AFP in partnership with the FBI which led to a law-enforcement controlled encrypted messaging service providing enough information to take down more than 300 alleged criminals.
Investigators were able to use the app to discover that drugs would be attached to the hull of large ships or thrown overboard before they docked in Australia to then be recovered by criminal dive teams.
Syndicates would also use garbage collection services to pick up drugs hidden in bins at ports around Australia.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Crime Command Nigel Ryan said the operation was continuing to reveal serious criminal syndicates as well as people who were providing a significant amount of assistance to gangs around Australia.
"It is just a matter of time before we scoop up those who believed they had gotten away with their crimes, like the alleged criminals who smashed or burned their (encrypted messaging) devices," he said.
"You will see AFP or our state law enforcement partners executing search warrants across Australia in the coming months."
More than 700 search warrants have been executed under the operation with over 6.3 tonnes of illegal drugs, $52 million in suspected proceeds of crime and 139 weapons seized in Australia.
Almost 1000 suspected criminals have been arrested around the world under the operation.
Australian Associated Press
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