Two Sydney men arrested and extradited to Brisbane for over $ 300 million in MDMA drug trafficking
Two Sydney men accused of being part of a criminal syndicate linked to an alleged conspiracy to import more than 850 kilograms of MDMA into the state in 2019 have appeared in court.
- Investigation reportedly prevented 15 million ecstasy tablets from reaching Australia
- Police allege drug theft is linked to a major international union with 13 arrested so far
- In 2019, drugs were found hidden in boxes of tomatoes in a shipping container
Tony Spitaleri, 46, and Anthony Squadrito, 19, were arrested in Sydney on Wednesday and extradited to Queensland, both on charges of attempting to possess a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs and handling the proceeds of crime .
The two men appeared briefly in Brisbane Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning, where their lawyer made no request for bail.
They are accused of being members of an Australia-based criminal syndicate linked to an alleged conspiracy to import MDMA into Queensland.
Police said the amount of MDMA has an estimated market value of $ 302 million and has the potential to be turned into more than 15 million MDMA tablets in Australia.
Medicines allegedly hidden in boxes of tomatoes
The arrests were linked to a major joint international investigation that began in the Netherlands in 2019, where ecstasy was reportedly found in cans of tomatoes in a shipping container.
AFP Detective Superintendent Helen Schneider said the joint investigation prevented 15 million ecstasy pills from reaching Australian shores.
“We allege that a Dutch-based union was preparing to export, sell and distribute these drugs to unions based in Australia,” she said.
Detective Superintendent Schneider said the Queensland task force consisted of six departments and had worked with international partners to stop the alleged shipment from the Netherlands.
According to her, 13 people have been charged to date.
Chemicals were also reportedly found in barns and residences, hidden behind double walls, double ceilings and double floors.
In 2019, a 48-year-old woman from Bass Hill, NSW was extradited to Brisbane and charged with attempting to possess a commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs as part of the same investigation.
Detective Superintendent Schneider said the maximum penalty for men is life imprisonment.
Their the cases will return to court next month.