SYDNEY, Aug 8, (Agencies): Police in Australia, Dubai and the Netherlands have arrested 17 people and seized nearly two tonnes of narcotics in raids the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said on Tuesday had broken up two interlinked Middle Eastern crime syndicates.
In simultaneous operations, nine men and a woman were arrested in Sydney on Tuesday and five men were arrested in the United Arab Emirates by Dubai police, according to the AFP.
Authorities in the Netherlands at the same time arrested two men alleged to have been responsible for arranging the supply of drugs to an Australian- based syndicate, the AFP said. “The people we allege are part of this syndicate are Middle Eastern organised crime figures that are well-known to law enforcement, and for decades this group has flaunted their wealth and activities, telling the community they were untouchable,” AFP assistant commissioner Neil Gaughan said in a statement.
“Today, it should be obvious that they are not,” he said. The five Australians arrested in Dubai were expected to be extradited to Australia within the next 60 days, Gaughan said. Dubai police and government officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Those arrested in Sydney face a variety of charges, including conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of drugs, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.