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Thu 9 Jul 2020 04:09 PM

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Dubai Police nab wanted Australian drug 'kingpins'

The two suspects are thought to be the leaders of a drug ring that imported $150m worth of narcotics into Australia

Dubai Police nab wanted Australian drug 'kingpins'

Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Reece Kershaw has praised Dubai Police for the arrest of two Australians labelled as criminal “kingpins” heavily involved in the Australian drug underworld, it was announced on Thursday.

In a statement, Kershaw said that the two men – Benjamin Neil Pitt and Matthew John – were the leaders of a drug importation operation that brought in nearly three tonnes of drugs worth over $150 million.

Both men were tracked down in the emirate and apprehended by Dubai Police, with the assistance of the AFP and New South Wales Police Force.

“The AFP and Dubai Police have been close and trusted law enforcement partners for many years [and] the AFP greatly values the leadership and commitment that Dubai Police demonstrates in the global fight against organised crime,” Kershaw said.

In a previous joint operation – codenamed Veyda – Dubai Police, the AFP and a number of other international law enforcement agencies dismantled two international crime syndicates and arrested 17 suspects in Sydney, Dubai and Europe, as well as seized over two tonnes of drugs with an estimated street value of AED 2.3 billion.

Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, assistant commander-in-chief of Dubai Police for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said that the force has been exchanging information with Australian authorities on gangs, particularly those involve in narcotics.

Armed with this information, Dubai Police set up a task force to track down the two Australians in Dubai.

"Seven days after receiving the Interpol's Red Notice, we located the defendants' whereabouts and a task force of officers and members of the Most Wanted Department arrested the men on charges of smuggling large quantities of drugs, the use of the proceeds of crime, and illegal trafficking of prescription drugs," Al Mansouri said.

To date, Dubai Police has arrested 52 international fugitives involved in crimes including terrorism, organised crime, money laundering, murder and drugs.

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