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Crime syndicate caught out after police discovered drugs in cricket rollers

Amphetamine powder

AUSTRAC assisted a law enforcement investigation into a syndicate importing precursor chemicals for drug manufacturing from South Africa into Australia. The syndicate attempted to import 44kg of phenylpropanolamine (PPA), enough to produce AUD20 million worth of amphetamines. AUSTRAC also sought assistance in this case from an international counterpart.

The consignment of drugs, which was hidden in multi-threaded rollers used for cricket pitches, was discovered by a law enforcement agency when it arrived in Australia. Police removed the PPA from the rollers and continued their surveillance.

AUSTRAC prepared a financial assessment report which detailed the transaction activity of the syndicate over a seven-year period:

  • The syndicate received 30 incoming international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs), mainly from the United Kingdom and South Africa, totalling approximately AUD238,000. The IFTIs ranged in value from AUD1,000 to AUD25,000 and were conducted through a bank and deposited into personal accounts in Australia.
  • The syndicate was involved in 22 significant cash transaction reports (SCTRs): three significant cash deposits made by members of the syndicate totalling approximately AUD52,000 which were deposited into three personal accounts owned by one member of the syndicate; and 19 significant cash withdrawals totalling AUD215,000 from three different personal and business accounts owned by syndicate members.

Two men from the syndicate were recruited as couriers and transported the rollers from Sydney to Melbourne. The rollers were delivered to a pre-arranged location where the suspects later opened the rollers and discovered they were empty. One of the men left the premises and was arrested later that day. He pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to possess a precursor chemical and was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and fined AUD15,000.

Offence

  • Drug importation

Customer

  • Individual

Industry

  • Banking (ADIs)

Channel

  • Electronic

Report type

  • IFTI
  • SCTR

Jurisdiction

  • International – South Africa, United Kingdom

Designated service

  • Account and deposit-taking services

Indicators

  • Large cash withdrawals and deposits from multiple accounts owned by the same person
  • Multiple large international funds transfers from high-risk jurisdiction
Last modified: 30/07/2015 15:37