A Secret Task Force Just Nabbed Half a Billion In Drugs And Cash In A Massive Australian Money Laundering Sting

A secret national money laundering task force, code-named Eligo, has seized more than $580 million worth of drugs and assets including $26 million in cash.

More than 100 people have been arrested, $30 million in assets frozen and 18 serious and organised criminal networks disrupted.

Three commercial amphetamine laboratories have been shut down and one of the largest urban hydroponic cannabis grow houses discovered.

The task force has also identified more than 128 targets previously unknown to law enforcement.

The Australian Crime Commission-led special investigation into money laundering spent 12 months looking at the use of alternative remittance and informal value transfer systems by organised crime.

Australian Crime Commission acting Chief Executive Officer, Paul Jevtovic, said the task force was using criminal intelligence insights, including that of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, to disrupt illicit international money flows, and to ‘harden’ the alternative remittance sector against serious and organised crime.

“Organised criminal groups are using complex and sophisticated money transfer structures in an attempt to legitimise their proceeds of crime,” Mr Jevtovic said.

The task force comprises the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the Australian Federal Police in partnership with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and State and Territory police.

The Eligo National Task Force has led to:

  • the seizure of more than $26 million cash, including a record $5.7 million single cash seizure in Sydney at the weekend
  • the seizure of illicit drugs with a combined estimated street value of more than $530 million
  • the restraint of more than $30 million worth of assets
  • the disruption of 18 serious and organised criminal groups/networks
  • the identification of more than 128 targets previously unknown to law enforcementthe arrests of 105 people on 190 charges
  • the closing down of three commercial amphetamine laboratories, including one of the largest and most sophisticated clandestine laboratory ever discovered by Victoria Police
  • the closing down of one of the largest urban hydroponic cannabis grow houses ever discovered by the NSW Police Force in Port Botany, New South Wales
  • Western Australia’s $20 million seizure (cash, drugs, and assets) last week (Thursday, 16 January) by WA Police.

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