Australian maritime official implicated in drug ring
A senior Australian maritime official is accused of having helped an organized crime gang as it tried to smuggle $170 million worth of drugs into the country, the Australian Age reported Tuesday.
'The now former (Maritime Union of Australia) assistant Queensland branch secretary, Dave Perry, is alleged to have fed a crime syndicate information during two drug smuggling attempts in 2006,' the report said. 'Perry, who denies impropriety and who stood down from the union in 2007, has a commonwealth maritime security pass and in 2003 attended the meetings of the state government-owned Port of Brisbane’s security committee. The committee includes government and police officials and develops port security assessments and plans.'
Perry had his alleged conduct exposed during the court case of a Canadian drug trafficker, Dale Handlen, who was this month sentenced to at least 22 years in prison, the newspaper reported.
However, Perry has not yet been charged with any criminal offense and 'has strongly denied any wrongdoing,' the report said. 'He said prosecutors painted an inaccurate picture of his conduct. The Age has no evidence that Mr. Perry knew what Handlen was importing.'
Last week, the Age reported that the Australia Crime Commission was investigating widespread infiltration of airports and seaports by organized crime syndicates looking to import drugs. The ACC's three-year probe had turned up 349 reports and intelligence briefs on criminal activity at ports and 86 reports in the country's airports.