Record $5.7 million cash haul in dirty money raid

A RECORD $5.7 million in cash was seized last weekend as part of the latest bust under an international crime probe which has so far netted Australian authorities more than $580 million in cash, drugs and assets.

The Australian Crime Commission, federal police, AUSTRAC and state police has been involved in the 12-month Operation Eligo, targeting international money laundering syndicates and crime of all sorts.

Authorities said it was a case of following the proceeds of crime through more than 20 countries, disrupting 18 serious organised crime groups and identifying 128 criminal targets previously unknown to law enforcers.

The massive operation has so far seized more than $26 million in cash, illegal drugs worth more than $530 million and restrained some $30 million in assets including houses and other property.

ACC acting chief executive Paul Jevtovic said the taskforce used "criminal intelligence insights", including those used by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, to disrupt the money laundering.

While authorities could not go into detail about the methods used, they said the operation had proven the international links between drug cartels, money laundering and terrorist groups, "the full gamut of criminal activity".

"Non-traditional law enforcement measures aimed at disrupting and deterring organised crime groups from targeting Australia have been used," Mr Jevtovic said.

"Through these new methodologies, new areas of focus, and new and more efficient ways of investigation, we've been better able to unearth an elaborate network of criminal activity, and remove half a billion dollars from the criminal economy-profits destined to line the pockets of criminals, and to further facilitate crime such as drug trafficking."

By tapping the US DEA's global network and expertise and combining that intelligence with Commonwealth and state agencies in Australia, the Eligo National Taskforce also seized $5.7 million in cash in Sydney last weekend.

That bust was the biggest single seizure of crime-related cash in Australian history, and comes after a serious of other record busts during the operation.

The effort has included the closing down of three commercial amphetamine laboratories, including the largest and most sophisticated lab ever discovered by Victorian Police, and the closure of one of the largest urban hydroponic grow houses discovered in Port Botany by New South Wales Police.

It has also seen the arrests of 105 people on 190 charged and a $20 million seizure of drugs, cash and assets by West Australian Police last week.

Investigations are continuing.

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