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Court orders forfeiture of $1.6 million Sydney home

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Court orders forfeiture of $1.6 million Sydney home

A $1.6 million Sydney house used to traffic illicit drugs has been forfeited to the Commonwealth.

Two men were ordered by the Supreme Court of NSW on 22 April, 2022, to forfeit the five-bedroom Sylvania house because it was deemed to have been used as an instrument of crime.

The AFP executed a search warrant on the property in April 2017 as part of an investigation into a Sydney-based Colombian organised crime group involved in drug importation and money laundering.

 

Investigators found two hidden rooms concealed behind an automatic door disguised as a bookshelf. Items seized from the rooms included cocaine, cannabis, cannabis resin, mobile phones, scales, clip-seal bags, a substance commonly used to cut drugs, and equipment used to detect surveillance devices.

More than $130,000 in cash and two imitation firearms were found hidden in other parts of the house.

One of the owners of the house, now aged 48, was sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment on 16 April 2019 after pleading guilty to a money laundering offence and a deemed supply of a prohibited drug.

AFP National Manager Criminal Assets Confiscation Stefan Jerga said the AFP had a two-pronged strategy when it came to dismantling organised crime.

“We will charge offenders and seize the instruments and ill-gotten gains used to bankroll their lavish lifestyles,” Mr Jerga said.

“The AFP wants to ensure that when offenders are released from jail they no longer have the spoils of criminal activity at their disposal.

“Law-abiding Australians work hard to buy their first home – they go to work, they pay their taxes and they save up for a deposit. Organised criminals flout their greed and often use violence in accumulating their criminal wealth.

“The AFP will continue to unleash maximum damage on the criminal environment, especially organised criminals who peddle misery into the community by trafficking illicit drugs.”

The Supreme Court of NSW made orders on 10 July 2019 to restrain the Sylvania property under section 19 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 based on the allegation the property was used in, or in connection with, various drug offences under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). This process was finalised with the order to forfeit the property to the Commonwealth.

The funds from the sale of the property will be deposited into the Confiscated Assets Account, which is managed by the Australian Financial Security Authority on behalf of the Commonwealth.

The funds are then redistributed by the Minister for Home Affairs to benefit the community through crime prevention, intervention or diversion programs, or other law enforcement initiatives.

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