International organised crime leader has been arrested at Yorke Peninsula, police say

The alleged leader of an international organized crime syndicate operating using the ANOM app has been arrested and charged in South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

The 47-year-old man, originally from New South Wales, has been charged with 29 counts of trafficking controlled drugs, including methamphetamine, ecstasy, cannabis and cocaine, as well as 17 counts of money laundering.

The ANOM app was created by law enforcement authorities and has been a key part of a large policing operation dubbed Ironside.

Task force Ironside senior investigating officer Darren Fielke said the man was linked to kilograms of cocaine, thousands of ecstasy tablets and more than 170 kilograms of cannabis valued at millions of dollars.

“Police will allege he is the head of a serious organized crime syndicate that operated both nationally and internationally,” he said.

“We’re talking multiple kilos of methamphetamine worth between $60-80 million.

“Although it’s seized 50kg, our review of the ANOM platform and his and his syndicate’s use of that particular platform has revealed a number of other quantities of methamphetamine … trafficked across the country.”

Police allege the man fled the country in April 2021 when police busted 50kg of methylamphetamine valued at $25 million hidden in a truck full of horse feed at Port Wakefield.

Police display of bags containing methylamphetamine.
Methylamphetamine seized from a semi-trailer stopped at Port Wakefield in April 2021.(ABC News: Mahalia Carter)

Two South Australian horseracing identities were charged at the time over the methamphetamine haul.

Detectives tracked the 47-year-old man back to the Yorke Peninsula and arrested him at 4:50pm on Sunday under a warrant.

No drugs were seized on Sunday and police found no evidence of drug manufacturing at the Yorke Peninsula property.

“What would draw for him to come back home we’re not exactly sure yet, investigations are continuing,” Detective Chief Inspector Fielke said.

“He’s a really significant arrest for organized crime in South Australia and for that matter, Australia.

“His syndicate was a heavy user of the ANOM encrypted communications platform and was used to facilitate his illegitimate business.”

The man is also being investigated by the FBI under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act that is designed to combat organized crime in the United States.

“He’s a high-level organized crime player,” Detective Chief Inspector Fielke said.

“This also reveals the level he was involved in organized crime and the significance of his use and influence on the ANOM encrypted platform.”

The man has been remanded in custody after facing the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday.

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