Alleged drug fugitive arrested after a decade

This is a joint release between Australian Federal Police, Western Australia Police Force, Australian Border Force and Queensland Police Service

Editor’s Note: Footage of the Brazilian national and audio grabs from AFP Det A/Supt Ben Moses are available via Hightail

A Brazilian national will be extradited to Queensland over his alleged involvement in a transnational cocaine importation a decade ago, after a Perth court today (16 August) approved the AFP’s extradition application.

The man, 40, was arrested and charged in 2012 for his alleged involvement in a syndicate using couriers to smuggle cocaine from Brazil and New Zealand into Australia.

He was one of nine people arrested on the Gold Coast and NZ as a result of the joint investigation by the AFP and Queensland Police Service, with assistance from New Zealand Police.

The Brazilian man was charged with conspiracy to import commercial quantities of cocaine and dealing in the proceeds of crime after AFP officers seized almost $615,000 cash during search warrants at his home and on vehicles allegedly linked to him.

Police also seized about 17 kilograms of cocaine during the investigation.

A Queensland Magistrate issued a warrant for his arrest in May 2012 after he allegedly failed to appear in a Southport court on the two charges.

An alleged 10 years on the run ended earlier this month (5 August) in Western Australia, after the man was stopped by WA Police Force (WAPF) officers over a traffic matter.

The WAPF officers were allegedly suspicious about the identification details the man provided and later made enquiries with Australian Border Force (ABF). Police will allege those enquiries with the ABF established the man was a long-term unlawful non-citizen of Australia and was also subject to the outstanding arrest warrant in Queensland.

WAPF apprehended the man on 5 August and transferred him into the custody of ABF. He was detained at Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Center until an extradition hearing today.

The man had been living in WA but it is not known when he left Queensland.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Ben Moses said the matter showed police were dedicated to bringing to justice anyone allegedly involved in supplying illicit drugs because of the harm they caused in Australian communities, even if the crime was committed years earlier.

“We particularly want to thank the WAPF officers involved, the diligence they showed in checking this man’s identity will ensure he faces prosecution over his alleged role in a significant drug import plot,” Detective Acting Superintendent Moses said.

“The seizure of the cocaine and the illicit cash a decade ago stopped significant profits flowing to the syndicate to fund other criminal ventures, but we also want to ensure anyone involved in the illicit drug trade is identified and prosecuted.”

The man will face charges in Queensland of:

  • One count of conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to section 307.1 by virtue of section 11.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offense is life imprisonment; and
  • Dealing in the proceeds of crime money or property worth $100,000 or more, contrary to section 400.4(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offense is 20 years’ imprisonment.

Note to media:

Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.

  • For free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.
  • Access free 24/7 drug and alcohol counseling online at www.counsellingonline.org.au.
  • For information about drug and alcohol addiction treatment or support, go to www.turningpoint.org.au.

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