FOUR drug syndicates allegedly trafficking heroin from Vietnam to Australia have been smashed after raids in Victoria and NSW.
Eight people were arrested after the sting, dubbed Operation Rattlesnake-Joinery.
The operation, an eight-month investigation involving Victorian, NSW, and Federal police, saw a substantial amount of cash, jewellery and property seized.
Police had been investigating a drug syndicate which saw couriers swallow drugs and carry them into Victoria and NSW.
The AFP has previously charged five internal couriers connected to the operation.
Victorian police arrested five people after executing warrants at Nunawading, Thomastown, Wantirna, Wantirna South, Springvale and Sunshine this morning.
A Wantirna woman, 31, a Nunawading man, 37, a Nunawading woman, 51, a Thomastown man, 42, and a Thomastown woman,38, are in custody.
Three people were also arrested in NSW.
Victoria Police drug taskforce officer-in-charge Det-Insp David Jones said more than 150 people were involved smashing the drug ring.
“This operation effectively demonstrates the major impact that Australian authorities have on dismantling organised criminal activities and networks when they collaborate and tackle the issue of illicit drugs together,” Det-Insp Jones said.
“As a result of this operation we believe we have been able to disrupt the activities of significant drug and organised crime syndicates operating internationally.”
AFP serious and organised crime coordinator Det-Supt Des Appleby said the organisation was committed to working with other law enforcement agencies to smash crime syndicates.
“The AFP also warns people considering acting as an internal drug courier that they are not only risking imprisonment, but also death or serious injury if they attempt to conceal drugs inside their body,” he said.
“Couriers are known to have swallowed or concealed drugs internally and the materials used to wrap the package have ruptured, leaked or disintegrated inside their body, leading to an extremely high risk of death.”
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, the Australian Crime Commission and Vietnamese authorities were also involved in the operation.