A major crime syndicate ­allegedly using “black flights’’ to move money, guns and drugs around the country has been dismantled by police.
A major crime syndicate ­allegedly using “black flights’’ to move money, guns and drugs around the country has been dismantled by police.

Guns, money, drugs hidden on light planes: cops

A major crime syndicate ­allegedly using "black flights'' to move money, guns and drugs around the country has been dismantled after police seized a plane carrying wads of cash in Brisbane.

Police say light planes ­loaded with cash from drug deals have been flying under the radar by not logging manifests and using smaller airports such as Bankstown to avoid security checks and vehicle ­inspections at state borders.

A rented car is normally waiting at the airport where the pilot will then take the cash to a prearranged meeting place and hand over the money.

A plane at Bankstown Airpot on December 1 that was allegedly carrying $800,000 cash.
A plane at Bankstown Airpot on December 1 that was allegedly carrying $800,000 cash.

"Laundering and ­moving money around has ­become increasingly difficult for drug syndicates,'' NSW ­assistant police commissioner and head of the State Crime Command Stuart Smith, said.

"Using planes is on the ­increase as a response to COVID where the borders have been patrolled."

In the past few months ­millions of dollars has been seized by police, including $11 million on a truck in Western Australia bound for NSW.

Cash ellegedly seized from an aircraft in Brisbane.
Cash ellegedly seized from an aircraft in Brisbane.

 

Ammunition allegedly seized from an aircraft in Brisbane.
Ammunition allegedly seized from an aircraft in Brisbane.

 

Cannabis allegedly seized from an aircraft in Brisbane.
Cannabis allegedly seized from an aircraft in Brisbane.

On December 1, a police surveillance unit monitored a Piper Aerostar landing at Bankstown Airport. Soon after, officers from Strike Force Raptor arrested two men - aged 31 and 32 - in a car at Rosehill in which they found more than $800,000 cash, documentation and ­mobile phones.

On Monday afternoon, the same plane bound for Bankstown was intercepted by Queensland police at Redcliffe Airport where $1 million plus a large amount of cannabis was seized and three men arrested.

According to police, the near collapse of traditional money laundering methods at casinos and using interna­tional students to transfer money overseas has made the job harder for crime groups.

 

Originally published as Guns, money, drugs hidden on light planes: cops


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