This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police and Australian Taxation Office.
Three people have been charged with money laundering offences as part of a Queensland National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) joint investigation involving the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police and the Australian Taxation Office.
Police will allege in court the two women and man laundered proceeds of crime through a number of businesses and real estate assets.
Beginning in June 2015, Operation Reddig saw the Queensland National Anti-Gangs Squad assist the Queensland Police Organised Crime Gangs Group with multiple linked operations. Over the course of Operation Reddig 19 people were arrested, 60 charges were laid and in excess of 135,000 MDMA tablets, 99 LSD tabs, 1300 prescription medication tablets, 6 kilograms of cannabis, $600,000 in cash, two illegal firearms, an illegal pill press and amounts of steroids, methamphetamine, cocaine, weapons, ammunition and a protected animal were seized. NAGS Qld also assisted NSW Police to arrest one person for possession of one kilogram of cocaine.
The focus of the investigation then turned to the alleged offenders unexplained wealth and proceeds of crime.
On Tuesday (21 November 2017), multiple search warrants were executed on the Gold Coast and at MacLeans Ridge, NSW, by members of the Queensland NAGS team with assistance from the Queensland Police Organised Crime Gangs Group.
Police seized a small amount of drugs and cash, restrained four houses with an approximate value of $3.5 million and arrested a 32-year-old Wongawallan man, 32-year-old Wongawallan woman, and a 56-year-old Maudsland woman during yesterday’s (21 November 2017) operational activity.
The three people have been charged with dealing in proceeds of crime and money worth $1,000,000 or more, contrary to section 400.3(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment.
The 32-year-old man is scheduled to appear before Southport Magistrates court today (22 November 2017), while the two women are scheduled to appear before Southport Magistrates court on 4 December 2017.
A fourth person, a man aged 35 has been summonsed to appear before Southport Magistrates court on 18 December 2017 where he is expected to be charged with aiding and abeting, general dishonesty contrary to section 135.1 by virtue of 11.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
AFP Detective Superintendent Russel Smith, Coordinator Organised Crime Brisbane said this is a great example of how the priorities and focus of an investigation can change with the assistance of partner agencies.
“In many instances, drug crime takes advantage and exploits the most vulnerable in our society. Securing access to proceeds of crime is an important focus of law enforcement to dismantle organised crime,” Detective Superintendent Smith said.
Operations Commander of the Organised Crime Gangs Group Detective Superintendent Roger Lowe said the operation demonstrated the joint resolve of the multiple agencies involved.
“This operation demonstrates the collaborative efforts of all agencies involved in the National Anti-Gangs Squad and our commitment to detecting, deterring and disrupting gang-related crime across Australia,” Detective Superintendent Lowe said.
“The ATO is committed to the ongoing work of the NAGS to disrupt the financial aspects of organised crime. We use our sophisticated data matching analytics to support investigations and share intelligence with partner agencies,” an ATO spokesperson said.
“When a taxpayer’s lifestyle does not match their reported income, we do ask questions.”
Source: Australian Federal Police AFP