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Mothballed cash stash led to drug trafficker's arrest

Image on money being handled by someone in gloves

AUSTRAC intelligence assisted law enforcement with an investigation into drug trafficking. The suspect was charged with attempting to traffic a controlled drug and sentenced to two-and-a-half years imprisonment.

AUSTRAC disseminated an intelligence assessment report to law enforcement regarding the financial activities of a suspect attempting to launder the proceeds of crime raised through drug-related activity. The suspect used bank and casino accounts to launder the funds.

The suspect was the subject of five suspicious matter reports (SMRs) submitted to AUSTRAC. Over a four-day period the suspect made five structured cash deposits of between AUD8,000 and AUD9,000 into his personal bank account. The structured cash deposits totalled AUD41,500. Bank staff reported in the SMRs that the deposited cash smelled of mothballs. After the deposits, the suspect undertook a domestic electronic transfer to move AUD40,000 from his bank account into an account with an Australian casino. The suspect deposited an additional AUD40,000 cash directly into the casino account.

An additional SMR submitted by the bank reported that the suspect received a deposit via domestic electronic transfer of AUD131,000 from the casino. Following this deposit into his bank account, the suspect withdrew AUD9,000 in cash.

The casino submitted an SMR indicating that the suspect was known by two aliases and that he would become aggressive when casino staff requested identification as part of the casino's normal identification procedures for customers cashing out gaming chips. The casino also reported that the suspect was known to cash out chips in amounts under the AUD10,000 cash reporting threshold, presumably to avoid the requirement to present identification to staff.

The suspect was arrested at a domestic Australian airport after a drug detector dog reacted to his suitcase. The suitcase contained 10 vacuum-sealed plastic bags containing a total of 4.5 kilograms of cannabis. The suspect was charged with attempting to traffic a controlled drug, contrary to sections 11.1 and 302.4 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 and was sentenced to two-and-half years imprisonment.

Offence Drug trafficking
Customer Individual
  • Banking (ADIs)
  • Gambling services
  • Electronic
  • Physical
Report type SMR
Jurisdiction Domestic
Designated service
  • Account and deposit-taking services
  • Gambling services
  • Cash has a distinct or unusual odour
  • Customer unwilling to produce identification when requested by reporting entity staff
  • Structuring of multiple cash deposits below AUD10,000 to avoid reporting obligations
  • Structuring of gaming chip cash outs to avoid reporting obligations
  • Use of false identification
Last modified: 30/07/2015 15:36