The elaborate undercover string that drug trafficker Moustafa ‘Michael’ Ibrahim shot down has finally been revealed days after he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Ibrahim, 42, pleaded guilty to importing drugs after being caught by the Dubai sting in 2017 after befriending a mysterious man known as “Zane.”
In fact, Zane was an undercover agent of the Australian Federal Police, who had secretly infiltrated Ibrahim’s closest confidante and gained his trust.
The pair was so close that Ibrahim once said he would “always vouch for Zane” as I have known you all my life. ‘
But within ten months of meeting his new friend, Ibrahim was arrested in Dubai after getting off a cruise on a ‘big night out’.
The undercover exercise blew up three bids to smuggle MDMA, cocaine and ice into Australia.
Moustafa ‘Michael’ Ibrahim (pictured right, with wife Caitlan Hall, left) is the brother of Kings Cross identity John
Ibrahim was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday with an 18-year release.
The sting started with a birthday present in October 2016, when Zane attended real estate agent Ryan Watsford’s birthday party at the Sheraton Hotel in Sydney.
Zane gave Watsford two boxes of cigarettes as gifts and advice on ways to launder money internationally.
The officer had received special authorization to be involved in the sale of smuggled tobacco to infiltrate the group.
They were suspected of smuggling across Australia, Dubai and the Nertherlands.
The group was arrested on a night out at the Dubai Marina (pictured), just arrived from a cruise
Watsford took the bait and became interested in how Zane got the cigarettes, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, so offered to put him in touch with some buyers.
Within a month, Zane was introduced to Ibrahim – brother of Kings Cross identity John Ibrahim.
The former nightclub owner has not been charged with any wrongdoing or connection with any of these crimes.
His brother soon befriended Zane and brought him further into his group of confidants, including convicted drug lord Mostafa Dib, Ahmad ‘Rock’ Ahmad and Hassan Fakhreddine.
The criminal gang used encrypted Blackberry phones to buy millions of dollars worth of cigarettes smuggled into Australia from abroad with the help of Zane.
Michael (left photo) is seen with his mother Wahiba (front) and brothers John (back) and Fadi (right). It is not suggested that any of his family members had any knowledge of his crime
But it quickly turned into more illegal substances, according to documents presented in court.
In March 2017, Ibrahim asked his new friend Zane “if he would be interested in buying MDMA from a third party,” the officer agreed.
Between May and July of that year, the officer arranged for nearly two tons of drugs to be picked up in Europe, telling Ibrahim that it had been successful.
In fact, the drugs were eventually confiscated by the Dutch police, always involving a ‘fake scheme’.
The gang was finally arrested in Dubai on August 7 of that year, after taking a cruise at the tourist spot the marina.
Five men, including Ibrahim and Dib, were arrested by UAE police.
Zane had previously sent a message to Ibrahim that night, and promised a ‘big night in Dubai with everyone bro’.
His lawyer told the court that he had been appointed by the undercover officer, who offered him “a door” to get drugs into Australia, but this was rejected by Judge Dina Yehia.
Moustafa ‘Michael’ Ibrahim (pictured) pleaded guilty to eight charges alleging illegal drug and tobacco imports
Several times, Ibrahim said he wanted nothing to do with drugs, just cigarettes.
Judge Yehia said Ibrahim, although “there was simply no evidence,” was involved in smuggling tobacco or drugs before meeting the officer.
But she added that he was a “willing participant” when the ideas came his way.
“But once the opportunity was offered, the perpetrator embraced it,” she said, saying that he was motivated by money.
He was quoted as saying, “I’ll move anything you want … be your f *** king right hand.
“We are not petty. We’re going to make millions … even hundreds of millions. ‘
The court heard that the 41-year-old (photo) was involved in two syndicates attempting to import 1,797 kg of MDMA, 136 kg of cocaine and 15 kg of ice into the country
Ibrahim has been in prison for 14 years since 2002.
This includes convictions for assault, drug supply and the robbery of Robin Nassour in 2006.
He first qualifies for parole on August 7, 2035.
The court heard that the 41-year-old was involved in two syndicates attempting to import 1,797 kg of MDMA, 136 kg of cocaine and 15 kg of ice into the country.
Dib, arrested next to Ibrahim in Dubai, was sentenced to a maximum of 18 years and two months in prison for the plot.
Ahmad also pleaded guilty, as did Fakhreddine, both of whom were arrested in Sydney.
Watsford, also arrested in Sydney, was sentenced to up to eight years and six months in prison in November 2019.
Ibrahim (photo) was arrested in Dubai in 2017 and – along with several other members of the group – subsequently pleaded guilty
Crown prosecutor Lincoln Crowley QC described Ibrahim as the “glue” and a “pivot” that brought together the syndicates and the overseas criminal gangs from whom they tried to buy drugs.
“The question of entrapment – there is no reason to discount, ignore or reduce the objective seriousness of the perpetrator’s actions,” said Crowley.
The prosecution alleged that it was contrary to common sense to suggest that the mere presence of the entry ‘door’ by Daan Ibrahim and his group enabled them to suddenly forge contacts with organized criminal networks overseas.
“This is not a case where a perpetrator has been charged as an inattentive innocent person to commit crimes that he would not otherwise be inclined to commit,” said Crowley.