Teen alleged leader of drug container breaking gang

The teenager has been refused bail and will appear in court on Sunday.

The teenager has been refused bail and will appear in court on Sunday. Photo: AAP

A Sydney teenager was the leader of a so-called gang of clearers responsible for retrieving more than $100 million worth of cocaine from shipping containers for international traffickers, police allege.

The gang is accused of locating and breaking into legitimately imported containers to retrieve the drugs on behalf of their buyers, after the cocaine was planted by criminals at the point of departure.

The scam, widely used by organised traffickers, is known as the rip-on, rip-off method.

Police on Thursday charged five men in relation to more than 200kg of cocaine extracted from three containers following a series of raids across Sydney.

An 18-year-old man taken into custody at Woodpark in the city’s west is accused of directing the local syndicate contracted to rip off the containers.

He has been charged with 12 offences including knowingly directing a criminal group, taking part in the supply of a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs and dealing with the proceeds of crime. He will appear in a Children’s Court on Friday.

Two other 18-year-old men were arrested at Merrylands and Bondi, a 28-year-old man was taken into custody at Plumpton and a 25-year-old man was apprehended at Seven Hills.

All have been charged in relation to the alleged importations.

During searches of the raided properties, police allegedly found $37,000 cash, 4kg of methylamphetamine, 3kg of cocaine, a replica firearm, ammunition, electronics, jewellery and watches.

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