17 people arrested in 3 countries in Australian drug bust

Federal Police

Law enforcement agents in the UAE took part in a simultaneous operation with Australian Federal Police that led to the arrest of five members of an worldwide crime syndicate.

Federal police say they have dealt a "huge blow" to two major worldwide drug syndicates operating in Australia, which they allege have links to the family of infamous Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim.

They reportedly raided 32 homes in Sydney, and are calling it one of the biggest attacks on organized crime in Australian history.

A total of 1.8 tonnes of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, 136 kgs (300 pounds) of cocaine and 15 kgs (33 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine were seized by authorities in the Netherlands, Australian police said.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said the groups had long-been involved in the importation of illicit substances.

The ABC understands Michael and Fadi Ibrahim were arrested in Dubai early on Tuesday. The drugs were worth around 810 million Australian dollars ($640 million).

A huge drug raid in the Netherlands has resulted in the seizure of almost 2 tonnes of MDMA, 136kg of cocaine and 15kg of crystal meth.

Those involved in successfully resolving this operation include the UAE Ministry of Justice, the Dubai Public Prosecution Office, Dubai Police, the National Police of the Netherlands, the National Public Prosecution Office of The Netherlands and Hong Kong Customs and Excise.


Mr Gaughan said there were connections at the lower end of the two Australian groups and no suggestion of business rivalries.

"Certainly some figures that have been arrested today are of great significance to NSW Police and obviously of great significance to law enforcement generally", NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mal Lanyon said.

"The safety of the people of NSW is paramount - and along with our law enforcement partners both here and overseas - we will do everything in our power to ensure that safety is maintained".

Extradition proceedings for the five arrested in Dubai are underway.

The charging of the pair and the failure to charge or publicly expose other suspected cell members and the facilitation of drug or tobacco importations, will thrust Australia's anti-corruption regime into the spotlight.

"Like any Australian arrested overseas, the men are being offered consular assistance in accordance with the Consular Services Charter".

Another Ibrahim brother, John, had his luxury Sydney sea-view property raided by police, although he has insisted he is a reformed character.

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