Australian police say they've busted a $1 million syndicate selling stolen baby formula on the black market

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  • Five people have been arrested over a suspected $1 million syndicate that allegedly stole baby formula from stores across Sydney.
  • The formula was sold on the black market overseas.

  • Australian police have arrested five people in connection with a $1 million syndicate that allegedly stole baby formula from stores around Sydney and sold it on the black market overseas.

    The latest arrest is that of a 31-year-old man who after he arrived at Sydney International Airport on flight from China on Saturday.

    Four others including a 48-year-old woman, a 35-year-old man, 53-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman linked with the syndicate have previously been arrested.

    It follows a 12-month investigation launched in February 2018 when retailers tipped police off about the coordinated theft of baby formula and vitamins across Sydney.

    Over the course of the investigation 4,000 tins of baby formula were sized along with large quantities of vitamins, Manuka honey, and $215,000 cash was seized by police following searches of two Sydney properties.

    “This has been a meticulous investigation, with detectives now putting five people before the courts and disrupting a well-coordinated theft syndicate,” Robbery and Serious Crime Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty said.

    “Police will continue to pursue those who seek to make a quick buck at the disadvantage of others and will always strive to stamp out unscrupulous activity.”

    Police will continue to investigate.

    The crackdown comes after a wave of international students and Chinese visitors were stockpiling Australian products such as baby formula and vitamins to resell in China — some students were making as much as $3,000 a week.

    When purchasing limits failed to deter the bulk buying, leading supermarkets were forced to move formula behind the counter with cigarettes.

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