Ryan’s comments contradict a recent pledge by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that his government “will ensure that [the AFP are] resources to carry out their work ”.
Morrison made the comments on June 8 when AFP and the federal government held a press conference to highlight the amazing results of Ironside, a three-year probe in which criminals unknowingly distributed encrypted phones that forwarded their private communications to police. The operation has led to hundreds of arrests and multi-ton drug seizures across the globe.
Ryan’s comments, recorded by the Lowy Institute for a special podcast, are unusual because senior police often feel sorry for not crossing the government’s messages that border security and resources are adequate. But Ryan warned that uncontrolled organized crime would continue to destroy parts of the economy and lead to huge costs, including in the healthcare sector.
“The effects and consequences of organized crime are very, very significant … look at the integrity of our institutions, especially legitimate supply chains.”
Also this week, a waitress and a former employee of the Dubai National Air Travel Agency were arrested on Wednesday. Another four were charged earlier this year.
In a statement, federal police claimed that the six had planned to import drugs into Australia “in a cargo box in the hold of a commercial aircraft on March 7, 2020”. The alleged import never took place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although AFP has also linked the group to a 38-kilo methamphetamine import to Sydney via an Air Canada flight in March 2019.
The arrests are the work of a new AFP aviation crime team launched in June. Same month, Aging, Sydney Morning Herald and 60 minutes revealed new evidence of organized crime infiltration in Qantas and other major airport and waterfront firms.
AFP detective Scott Sykes said AFP continued to sift through the tracks of Operation Ironside and “increasingly focuses on targeting insiders working at Australia’s busiest airport”.
Ryan’s warnings about the scale and impact of organized crime and its ability to destroy businesses and organizations were reflected in June by the head of Australia’s highest criminal intelligence service, Mike Phelan.
Phelan, who heads the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, warned that Australia’s most dangerous and wanted detectives had organized themselves into a $ 1.5 billion – a year cartel. He also said the “Aussie Cartel” smuggled drugs past the country’s borders with the help of corrupt officials and border insiders.
One of the nine men appointed by cartel leaders by the commission is Hakan Ayik, who remains on the run after inadvertently becoming a distributor of the communications platform secretly set up and controlled by police as part of Operation Ironside. Another alleged member of the Aussie Cartel is Hakan Arif, who was previously arrested in Dubai as part of an investigation into drug imports by AFP, but fled while on bail. Both Ayik and Arif are believed to be hiding in Turkey.
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