Syndicate allegedly bribed ABF officers to smuggle drugs into Australia

A TEAM leader in Australia Border Force and a former colleague have been charged with allegedly helping a Sydney crime syndicate import tobacco and ecstasy into the country.

Details can now be legally revealed surrounding Operation Astatine, a joint Australian Federal Police and NSW police investigation, which has national implications for Australian Border Force.

media_cameraFormer customs officer Johayna Merhi has been arrested in connection with an alleged syndicate smuggling drugs into Australia.

Australian Border Force team leader Craig Eakin, 42, from Brighton-Le-Sands has been charged with smuggling, bribery, abuse of public office, assisting a criminal group, unauthorised access and dealing in the proceeds of crime.

Johayna Merhi, 41, from Hurtsville, has been charged with conspiracy to bribe, smuggling, assisting a criminal group and dealing in proceeds of crime.

media_cameraKoder Jomaa, pictured in Dubai, was arrested earlier this week.

It will be alleged in court that the syndicate members played varied and active roles in a conspiracy to import 200 kilograms of MDMA. It will also be alleged that the syndicate was responsible for smuggling 50 million cigarettes into Australia and engaged in money laundering activities here and abroad.

The arrests follows dawn raids on Tuesday when more than 570 AFP officers swooped on homes and businesses across Sydney.

media_cameraOperation Astatine seized drugs, tobacco and money duirng raids across Sydney.

Seventeen people were arrested across three countries, including two brothers of Kings Cross nightlife figure John Ibrahim, preventing about two tonnes of illicit drugs reaching Australia.

“Unfortunately, during this operation, we have uncovered some allegations of corrupt activity, which this syndicate exploited to try and get their drugs into the country,” Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said…

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