A teenager with a respected family and private school education is facing life in prison after allegedly becoming connected to Australia’s largest ever crime sting.
More than 100 organised crime members have been arrested in Australia in the past week as part of Operation Ironside, initiated after the United States’ FBI decrypted ‘Anom’, an online communications platform used by gang figures.
The communications found on the platform included 21 murder plots, gun distribution and mass drug trafficking, federal police say. The operation is three years in the making.
Australian Federal Police said on Tuesday it had seized 3.7 tonnes of drugs, 104 weapons and almost $45million in cash as part of the operation.
Apostle Broikos, 18, one of the youngest alleged associates of the crime syndicate, has been charged with serious drug offences as part of the sting, The Adelaide Advertiser reports.
Despite his lawyer drawing attention to his young age, Broikos was remanded in custody after appearing in Adelaide Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Apostle Broikos, 18, one of the youngest alleged associates of the crime syndicate, has been charged with serious drug offences as part of the sting
Broikos faces a fine of up to $1 million, life imprisonment or both for the charges
On May 19, Broikoswas charged with trafficking a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug in Yamba, northern NSW
Broikos went to St Ignatius’ College where he competed in several of the school’s sport teams
On May 19, Broikos, who went to St Ignatius’ College where he competed in several of the school’s sport teams, was charged with trafficking a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug in Yamba, northern NSW.
The teen was also charged with manufacturing and trafficking a controlled drug between January 1 and August 19, 2020.
Broikos faces a fine of up to $1 million, life imprisonment or both for the charges.
His uncle Theodore Tasman Broikos, Mark James Press and Comanchero bikie boss Cain Robert Dalwood remain in custody to await trial.
Press and Dalwood are also accused of conspiracy to murder.
Broikos and several of his co-accused will appear again in court on July 1.
The recent charges come after senior investigators alleged that ‘100 per cent’ of telephone conversations intercepted on the AN0M devices were all business and in relation to criminal activity.
Broikos and several of his co-accused will appear again in court on July 1
The alleged offenders are linked to the Australian-based Italian mafia – known as the Ndrangheta – as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs, Asian crime syndicates and Albanian organised crime figures.
Police have charged 224 alleged offenders with 525 charges, shut down six clandestine laboratories and acted on 21 threats to kill, including saving a family of five.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the AFP operation, known as Operation Ironside, had struck a ‘heavy blow’ against organised crime.
‘The operation puts Australia at the forefront of the fight against criminals who peddle in human misery and ultimately, it will keep our communities and Australians safe,’ he said on Tuesday.
‘Illicit drug use ruins lives and fuels organised crime.’
AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said federal agents had been in the ‘back pockets’ of criminals through the encryption app.
‘The FBI had the lead on this. We provided the technical capability to decrypt those messages,’ he said.
‘Some of the best ideas come over a couple of beers.’
Ninja Warrior 2017 contestant Sopiea Kong was among those arrested. The 33-year-old was charged last week following a raid at a Kangaroo Point home, where police allegedly seized 154g of meth.
Kong, who was also allegedly in possession of $2,030 cash and a revolver, was granted bail and will appear in court on June 28.
Former Bachelorette star Samuel Minkin, who appeared on Becky and Elly Miles’ season of the dating show, was charged with possessing a large commercial quantity of cannabis after police stopped a van in Byron Bay last month.
Police have charged 224 alleged offenders with 525 charges, shut down six clandestine laboratories and acted on 21 threats to kill, including saving a family of five. Pictured: weapons seized by detectives
Australia’s world-first Assistance and Access Act passed in 2018 allows intelligence agencies to require tech companies to hand over encrypted messages. Pictured: ammunition seized by police
Former Bandito bikie Benjamin Joseph Thornton, 31, was arrested after police seized two mobile phones and a small quantity of cocaine. He was denied bail and will reappear in court next week.
The bust exposed new details about how one of Australia’s most wanted fugitives gave police extensive access to the world’s criminal underworld.
Drug kingpin and Comancheros bikie associate Hakan Ayik has spent the last decade on the run from Australian authorities after fleeing the country in 2010.
Now living in Turkey, he was tricked into distributing messages to his criminal associates around the world via encrypted communications app AN0M, unaware it was being run by FBI special agents.
Three years ago, Australia Federal Police identified Ayik as a key influencer to successfully distribute the encrypted AN0M devices due to his high status in the criminal underworld.
They sat back and secretly intercepted millions of messages sent as unsuspecting associates openly stated their plans including plots to kill, importing drugs and identifying those who could help them with their criminal enterprises.
Senior investigators describe Ayik as the ‘principal distributor of the AN0M handset.’ who didn’t just distribute the devices among associates but also profited from the sales.
‘It’s like having The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) sponsoring your gym. This is a high-value criminal sponsoring a criminal communications system,’ Australian Federal Police Superintendent Jared Taggart told News Corp papers.