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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have restrained properties, dozens of vehicles, cash and gold bullion, worth a combined estimate of $5 million, suspected of being the proceeds of crime following an investigation into a cocaine importation into Sydney.
The AFP-led Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) applied to restrain the assets, which include three properties in New South Wales, 47 vehicles including 31 classic cars, and gold and silver bullion worth approximately $676,000.
The AFP alleges the assets are linked to a 46-year-old Sydney man, who was sentenced earlier this year to 11 years’ imprisonment for importing 144kg of cocaine into Sydney.
AFP Commander Stephen Fry said the CACT worked closely with criminal investigators to identify and restrain potential proceeds of crime so they could deliver maximum impact to the criminal environment.
“Organised crime groups are motivated by greed and an intent to make illicit profits so we work tirelessly with our partners to disrupt their criminal activities and remove their ill-gotten wealth,” Commander Fry said.
“Profits from criminal activities also form a vicious circle as cash and other assets are used to fund the next drug import or pay for the next grow house or help criminals evade law enforcement.”
“The AFP’s ability to break the cycle and seize these profits sends a strong message to criminals that their luxury lifestyles are an illusion which will inevitably disappear after police knock on their door.”
The CACT brings together the resources and expertise of the AFP, Australian Taxation Office, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC and Australian Border Force. Together, these agencies trace, restrain and ultimately confiscate criminal assets.
The funds derived from the sale of confiscated assets are placed into the Confiscated Assets Account which is managed by the Australian Financial Security Authority on behalf of the Commonwealth. These funds can be distributed by the Attorney-General to benefit the community through crime prevention, intervention or diversion programs or other law enforcement initiatives across Australia.