Drug Seizure – Operation Winfield

The Northern Territory Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF) has charged 3 men in relation to a largescale international drug syndicate.

Operation Winfield was launched in partnership with the Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to target significant suppliers of illicit substances.

On Thursday 23 May, Investigators intercepted 6kg of cocaine and 5kg of methamphetamine, valued at more than $7 million, destined for the Darwin market. Detectives monitored two men, aged 24, who allegedly form part of an international syndicate as they took possession of the drugs that were concealed in air cargo at two separate locations. Simultaneous arrests were made as the offenders removed the drugs in order to allegedly distribute them on the Darwin market.

Both men appeared in Darwin Local Court on 24 May 2024 where they were charged with:

  • Supply Schedule 1 Commercial Quantity x 2
  • Import Border Controlled Drug Commercial x 2

Both were further remanded in custody to appear in Darwin Local Court on 17 July 2024.

On Tuesday 11 June 2024, Detectives arrested a third man, aged 28, in relation to the alleged drug syndicate. He has since been charged with:

  • Import Border Controlled Drug Commercial
  • Supply Schedule 1 Commercial Quantity
  • Possession of Schedule 1 Drug
  • Possess cannabis

He was remanded to appear in Darwin Local Court on 31 July 2024.

Detective Superintendent Lee Morgan said “This is a significant interdiction of drugs destined for our community. We believe this syndicate alone is responsible for in excess of 18kg of cocaine and 14 kg of methamphetamine that has been detected and intercepted as part of this operation since March 2024, which included the successful arrest of a man in March who was in possession of 9kg of methamphetamine.

“Interagency cooperation both locally, interstate and internationally has contributed greatly to the successful outcome of this operation. The existence of state and national borders will not hinder us in our pursuit to continually improve community safety. The NT Police has an excellent relationship with our partner agencies, and we will continue to work collaboratively in order to combat serious organised crime syndicates”.

“More arrests are anticipated both locally, interstate and internationally.”

AFP Superintendent Greg Davis said the AFP and its Commonwealth and international law enforcement partners would continue to target and disrupt criminals based locally and offshore who are importing illicit drugs, to protect the Australian community.

“These partnerships are critical to ensure people do not profit from exploiting the community through the illicit drug trade. Illicit drug use not only affects users and their families, it fuels associated crime, road crashes, places a significant burden on the health system and negatively impacts the economy,” Supt Davis said.

“Across Australia, 27 people on average were admitted to hospital every day in 2021-22 for methamphetamine-related issues. In the same period, there were more than 1300 cocaine-related hospitalisations – more than three a day on average. *

A/g Superintendent Nathan Grant said ABF officers work alongside various domestic and international law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks.

“The impact that we have when conducting these joint operations is significant, and the Northern Territory community will continue to see results like this,” A/g Superintendent Grant said.

“Preventing harmful narcotics from entering the community remains our priority and our officers are committed to working both domestically and overseas to combat those that intend to bring harm to our communities through smuggling.

“My message to drug traffickers is simple; this is not over. Working alongside law enforcement partners, we will be relentless in our pursuit of you.”

*Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report.

Bodyworn footage of the arrest of the two 24-year-old’s is available upon request through the PFES Newsroom.

/Public Release. View in full here.