Pubdate: Mon, 11 Aug 2008
Source: Daily Advertiser, The (Australia)
Copyright: 2008 Rural Press Ltd
Author: Laura Davies
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


RAIDS of Griffith properties believed to be linked to the world's 
biggest drug seizure have "absolutely shocked and disgusted" the 
city's mayor, Dino Zappacosta.

Three men from the Griffith region were arrested and charged 
yesterday after an extensive Australian Federal Police (AFP) 
investigation led agents to the area.

The raids followed 12 months of investigations after 4.4 tonnes of 
ecstasy was discovered in a shipping container in Melbourne last 
year, with an estimated street value of $440 million.

"It's just unbelievable. I cannot believe people in Griffith might 
still be involved in the illicit drug trade," Cr Zappacosta said.

The operation included 400 agents executing 45 search warrants in 
NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

It has also thrown Griffith back into the spotlight for drug-related crime.

"We've spent the last 30 years trying to build Griffith's reputation 
as a cosmopolitan city, and it's definitely set us back," Cr Zappacosta said.

A 46-year-old man from Tharbogang, near Griffith, and a 45-year-old 
man from Griffith were charged with conspiracy to import MDMA 
(ecstasy), trafficking MDMA and aiding and abeting the importation of cocaine.

Another Tharbogang man, aged 51, was charged with the same offences 
with the additional charge of conspiring to import a precursor.

The men are among 21 people the AFP arrested yesterday, and 15 had 
been charged last night.
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