Australia Police Seizes 42 Kgs of Drugs, $10 Million in Assets in Combined Bust Operation of South East Asian Drug Syndicate, 27 Arrested

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 22, 2013 2:56 PM EST

Combined forces led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and local state police of Victoria have arrested 27 people in a year-long bust operation that involved a South East Asian drug syndicate based in Melbourne and Sydney.

The AFP said they kicked off Operation Volante in April 2012 and collaborated with agencies in China, Macau, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Hong Kong in targeting the syndicate.

Recovered from the bust operation were:

1). 42 kilograms of drugs;

2). $4 million cash;

3). $5 million worth of residential properties;

4). $600,000 in casino chips;

5). $10,000 worth of jewellery;

6). 99 pieces of designer handbags and wallets and a Lamborghini

According to the AFP, they have been long tracking the international organised crime syndicate that has been smuggling and trading large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine into Australia.

Apart from the AFP, Operation Volante was also made up by the Victoria Police with assistance from the Australian Customs, New South Wales Police and the Australian Crime Commission.

In just over the past three days, 37 search warrants across Melbourne led to the arrest of six men.

The 21 other people arrested through the course of the investigation have appeared in courts in New South Wales and Victoria, the AFP said.

"This operation will have a significant impact on the syndicate internationally and shows how successful joint partnerships are in combating organised crime groups targeting Australia." David Sharpe, AFP Manager Serious and Organized Crime, said in a statement.

Further arrests are expected as AFP said it will still continue its investigation both in Australia and overseas.

"This investigation was about following the money trails, removing the wealth and cutting of distribution networks in Australia and internationally," he said.

"This investigation is not over."

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