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Australian police arrest flight crew over drug smuggling

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PHOTO: Part of the drug haul seized by the AFP – Australia’s ABC News

Malaysia’s Malindo Air have been caught up un an international drug smuggling case as some of their air crew are now accused of helping to smuggle heroin and methamphetamine worth millions of dollars from Asia to Australian cities.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) have now arrested two flight team members along with six other people. The arrests are the result of a six month investigation codenamed Operation Sunrise.

According to the AFP, flight attendants from Malaysia’s Malindo Air, a subsidiary of Indonesia’s Lion Air, have been smuggling in drugs on their persons on behalf of a Melbourne-based Vietnaese crime syndicate.

One of the investigation’s “key players” say they had made at least 20 such trips.

In a statement, the airline says… “Malindo Air stands ready to co-operate with all the relevant authorities be it in Australia or in Malaysia in this regard, The cabin crew member has also been suspended with immediate effect pending termination.”

The AFP investigation has targeted a highly organised Vietnamese crime syndicate based in Melbourne and operating out of Australia’s second biggest city for up to five years. They say the syndicate is responsible for the importation of high-grade heroin and methamphetamine from Malaysia.

“8 kilograms of heroin was seized in the operation and has a street value of AUD$14.5 million. This equates to 42,000 street deals, in real terms,” say the AFP.

“A further 6 kilograms of methamphetamine, with a street value of AUD$6.5 million was also seized during seven raids on properties in Melbourne and its suburbs, along with half a kilogram of cocaine, a Porsche sports car and a “significant quantity” of cash.”

Investigators say that the quantity of illegal drugs seized in the operation is significant but “not the total amount of drugs”.

Malindo Air started operations in 2013 and operates out of the Kuala Lumpur serving several Australian destinations. It currently operates 800 flights weekly to over 40 regional and international destinations.

SOURCE: CNN | Australian Federal Police

 

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