Six charged over international drug ring

Six Sydney men have been charged and millions of dollars in cash and drugs seized after a multi-agency police investigation into an international drug ring.

Another man was arrested in Los Angeles as part of a joint operation with United States Homeland Security.

Police say there are still a number of Australian citizens at large overseas suspected of participating in the trafficking.

In 2021, detectives from the NSW Police Force's State Crime Command, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) established Operation Phobetor to target and disrupt serious organised crime in NSW.

NSW Police say investigators identified several transnational organised criminal networks (OCNs) working collaboratively to import illicit drugs from several countries into NSW.

They intercepted and seized about 220kg of methylamphetamine in Los Angeles, bound for Australia, approximately 60kg of cocaine at a Sydney freight depot concealed inside pieces of machinery and $960,000 in cash.

Police said the cocaine, believed to have been sourced in Germany, would have been worth $50 to $60 million on the streets.

Officers raided 16 properties across Sydney at dawn on Wednesday, seizing more than $1.2 million cash, a rifle, ammunition, gold bullion, cigarettes, cocaine, MDMA, cannabis, steroids, electronic devices, cryptocurrency wallets and documents.

Five men - aged 30, 33, 38, 41 and 44 - were arrested during the operation and face numerous charges including supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

Another two men - aged 28 and 32 - were arrested at 8:30am in Bankstown during a vehicle stop with police seizing a further $1.4 million.

The 28-year-old was charged with being involved in the distribution and collection of drugs while the 32-year-old man was released pending further inquiries.

Detective Superintendent Peter Faux, from NSW Police Force Operation Phobetor, said investigators were still looking into the activities of several Australian citizens overseas.

"Unfortunately there are Australian citizens who do move offshore and they may think they're untouchable by doing that," he said.

"We look forward to speaking to them whether or not they choose to stay in those countries or they come back to Australia."

Meanwhile, US Homeland Security Investigations officers arrested a 23-year-old man who is not Australian in Los Angeles after seizing 128kg of methylamphetamine, 55kg of crystal MDMA and 18kg of cocaine.

"Organised criminal networks are usually notoriously competitive for control in the illicit drug trade," Det Sup Faux said.

"However, what we have seen through this operation and other intelligence is that some members of OCNs are working collaboratively to bring drugs into our country.

"While the different methods of concealment aren't new, it's the level of involvement from various criminal syndicates to bring in shipments which is of note."

AFP Commander Kate Ferry said the operation was an example of law enforcement at its best.

"These criminals undermine our national security and our economy. They make our suburbs and roads less safe," she said.

"The way Australians live will be changed if illicit drug use is not greatly reduced and if these serious criminals are not brought to justice."

Investigations are continuing.