May 1, 2014
A convicted Nigerian criminal has been charged with running a drug importation ring from Villawood Detention Centre using nothing but a smart phone.
Immigrant Dirichukwu Nweke, 39, was refused bail at a Sydney court on Thursday after police accused him of using an American drug mule to fly cocaine into Australia.
His arrest comes after he recently served more than six years in jail for aiding the importation of 1.87 kilograms of cocaine concealed in children’s books from New Zealand to Australia.
Mr Nweke was recently released on parole and won an appeal against his deportation in 2011 after a tribunal found he needed to stay in Australia to look after his three children.
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal overturned the immigration department’s decision to cancel his visa, stating that Mr Nweke had, “excellent prospects for a full rehabilitation and of not reoffending”.
It is understood Mr Nweke was fighting the immigration department’s most recent attempt to cancel his visa when he was arrested on Wednesday.
Police will allege Mr Nweke had organised for a 60-year-old from the US to import five kilograms of cocaine to Sydney.
The American, Peter Martin Strand, was arrested by Australian Federal Police at Sydney Airport on Tuesday. He was refused bail and will appear before a Sydney court next month.
Police will allege Mr Nweke had links to four men who were charged last week over the importation of 136 kilograms of a chemical used to make methylamphetamine.
NSW Police organised crime squad commander, Superintendent Scott Cook, said recent arrests proved how challenging it was to stop organised crime with advances in technology.
“The hierarchical structure and the whole Godfather typical style has gone. We are in a whole new age and it’s very challenging for us,” Superintendent Cook said.
“[Drug syndicates] operate very similar to business people in that they trade in commissions and set up supply chains and networks with each other.”
“They have totally embraced globalisation and they are working with each other irrespective of ethnicity and that’s a big change for us.”
He said the use of business entities and the ease with which people could access technology and make financial transfers would continue to be the squad’s biggest challenge.
“It’s no longer just NSW. We’ve got crime happening here that is being manipulated from all over the world.”
Court documents reveal Mr Nweke arrived in Australia after he was granted a three-month business via in September 2000.
Three years later he was granted a permanent spousal visa after he had previously been refused a protection visa.
He appeared in person before Bankstown Local Court on Thursday and was formally refused bail.
His matter was adjourned and he is expected to appear before Burwood Local Court on June 25.
Superintendent Cook said detectives in his new squad were working hard to infiltrate international drug rings and focused on following money trails.
“The new squad is working with the NSW Crime Commission and is really focused on money, following the money and seeing where it leads us,” he said.
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