A suspected war chest of drugs and cryptocurrency has been found in homes linked to a man alleged to be the leader of a drug syndicate.
Michael Adam Kustic, 39, was arrested at his home in Googong, New South Wales, near Canberra, on December 8 and charged with 40 counts relating to his involvement in what is believed to be the largest drug network. great in the history of the Australian Capital Territory.
He was extradited to the ACT along with two other men, Thomas Kelleher, 38, and James Martens, 27, who were arrested at a house in Gordon, west of Melbourne, during the operation.
Kustic was denied bail for a second time while facing the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday and has yet to enter a plea to dozens of charges.
Police revealed in court that among the alleged 68,000 items seized during the raids were about $5.5 million in drugs and about $2.3 million in cryptocurrency.
A man allegedly part of a massive illegal drugs ring has been arrested at a house in Googong, near Canberra, and faced with 40 charges (pictured, pills found in the house).
Charges to which Kustic has yet to plead include trafficking in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug, participation in a criminal group, multiple counts of fraud and supplying anabolic steroids.
More charges could be filed against Kustic and the other two men after all of the drugs allegedly found in the homes are fully analyzed.
However, the process could take between 12 and 18 months due to the large amount of substances allegedly seized.
An acting sergeant told the court on Thursday that ACT Police’s drugs and organized crime team had “never had a seizure of this amount”, acting Sgt. Canberra Times reports.
Police allege anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, cannabis oil, Xanax and psilocybin, the active chemical in magic mushrooms, were found in the homes.
The group is alleged to have used the ‘OzPharmLabs’ moniker online to sell the drugs nationwide through Australia Post.
The sergeant also told the court that an image on Kustic’s phone showed a Trezor cryptocurrency wallet showing a balance of $2.8 million when police connected the device to a laptop.
During the raids, a house, five vehicles, three motorcycles and various designer items and electronic devices were also seized.
Michael Adam Kustic, 39, was extradited to the ACT along with two other men after anabolic steroids, Xanax and human growth hormones were allegedly found in the house.
Police also confiscated five vehicles, one of them a luxury BMW, as well as various designer items and electronic devices.
However, police have yet to gain access to the password-protected electronic devices and multiple cryptocurrency wallets.
Kustic’s defense lawyer, James Maher, told the court that police concerns that his client would have access to the wallets if released on bail were purely speculative.
Prosecutor Morgan Howe refuted Maher’s comments and said Kustic had yet to grant police access to certain devices.
“It demonstrates a failure to comply with a very important court order,” Mr Howe said.
Although he rejected Kustic’s bail application, Magistrate James Lawton warned police to speed up the pace of investigations.
“At some point the court will have to say it has been given enough time,” Lawton said.
Three motorcycles were also seized (in the photo, a seized Harley Davidson)
Kustic was remanded in custody and is expected to face the ACT Magistrates Court again on March 28.
Kelleher and James have been charged with 20 counts and are expected to appear in the ACT Magistrates Court on February 29 and March 28 respectively.
Detective Inspector Mark Steel told media the day after the raids that the group was likely responsible for a significant portion of Australia’s illegal prescription drug market.
“These three men allegedly ran a sophisticated, coordinated and deliberate illegal business with the sole aim of making ill-gotten gains,” Detective Inspector Steel said.
‘ACT Policing and Victoria Police have coordinated their investigation and resolution activity and this should serve as a warning to anyone seeking to profit from illegal activity.
‘If you operate across borders, you will face the combined efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies. We will arrest him, confiscate his assets and take him to court to face significant criminal charges.’