Gambling, Drugs, Cocaine; Punters With Problems Targeted By Crime Lords

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:

G'day punters, journos, high rollers - casino whales, gambling millionaires and billionaires, media tycoons, politicians, insiders, outsiders, law enforcement agencies and agencies, legal eagles ... one and all. You know who you are. Today we have another stab at the relationship between problem gamblers and crime, in particular drug running. We also investigate drug use and dealings in and around Australian politics. Drugs are a problem that has infiltrated all cross sections of society, but not to our surprise, there is a more than casual or coincidental connection to the amateur and professional gambling sector. Our friends at the Australian Federal Police continues to work diligently, taking on the drug trade, and we commend them on their considerable efforts and results, but there is clearly more work to be done.. Media Man and Gambling911 with this white hot report from down under...

Australians With Gambling, Drug And Mental Problems Continue To Be Targeted By Crime Lords And Scouts To Run Drugs...

You've heard it here before at Gambling911, and you will hear it again. There's a strong connection between casinos, gambling and crime. Media Man International have been probing this for a number of years now. What's to show, other than more news stories? More deaths, more drug busts, prisons filling up, wackos walking the streets, and the viscous circle continues on, with there always being more desperate people willing to the take the risk. Australians, many "new Australians" and desperate gamblers are being targeted by drug bosses in the Asia Pacific region.

The most recently findings continue to show that Australian and Oriental jails are filling up with the mules who crime lords recruit, and Aussie casinos and clubs are a known place of recruiting activity. We've learned that many of the inmates had incurred gambling debts and elected (or were forced) to mule drugs, to pay back their debt accounts. A mule can make up to 15k or 20k for a trip, but getting away with the crime is not so easy.  Dozens of mules rot in Asian jails, most not getting any news media coverage. NSW Police Force's Asian Crime Squad chief, Detective Acting Superintendent Scott Cook, advised that while heroin mules have become less common, vulnerable people are still being targeted. "What we find generally is the recruiting for mules or people who are going to bring drugs back to Australia generally happens around a debt, or around some other need for money,". The profile of a drug mule no longer resembles ambitious young persons in a hurry to wealth, scouts look at other types including gamblers. Loan sharks and agents hang out at the clubs and casinos looking for gamblers to recruit. The AFP has commenced pro active operations in Vietnam and a significant spike in numbers of Aussies has occurred. The criminal element at a number of Australian hotels, pubs and casinos is understood to be just one of the reasons for the ongoing popularity of online casinos and online poker rooms, and sports betting on the internet continues at record levels. A number on Australian AFL and NRL players, and their friends, are understood to prefer TAB shop visits where they can pay cash, and bets are much more difficult to trace. However, as the Australian media and public recently would have noticed, your photo and video likeness can be taken inside a TAB, so those looking to do the wrong thing have been given fair warning. The strong arm of Australian law and Big Brother is out to get you. Now, if you're not totally freaked out now, go visit your local club, casino or gaming website, and try out Lady Luck. Tell 'em the Media Man and Gambling911 sent you. And, best to also stick with known and trusted brands, such as the ones most prominently listed in a balanced and positive fashion on the pages of Media Man and Gambling911. Ya hear us folks. Good luck.

Australian Crime Syndicates Looking From Fresh Blood, New Recruits; Problem Gamblers And Debt Laden Public Prime Targets By Crims...

Asia Pacific crime gangs, some well organised, other rinky dink, are targeting those doing in tough financially (we all know someone don't we) and and gamblers with significant debts to become drug mules. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) again warned via media wires, the internet and newspapers that they will go in hard no matter how "down on your luck" your story is, those caught will be prosecuted and sent to the slammer - yep, the big house, for up to 25 years. AFP Superintendent Stephan Obers has advised the AFP has charged 77 people for importing drugs via internal concealment since December 2008. One of the worst cases recently was a woman who arrived in Sydney with almost 1kg of drugs inserted and ingested. The woman, believed to be of Asian decent, underwent emergency surgery when it was found she had four soft drink can-sized objects inside her body, two of which had turned horizontally, obstructing her bowel. "(In January) we had four in a week hitting Perth," Superintendent Obers said, adding people being hired as mules - be they Australian citizens or foreign nationals - were stupid, desperate, or both. "In some cases, it's a case of desperation. In other cases, they have chosen to be professional couriers," he said. Syndicates are constantly on the lookout for options. They will target people with large gambling debts." He said others were lured with promises of a free overseas holiday, with the cost being the importation of drugs. He warned people were risking their lives and, even if they could be taken to hospital, there was no guarantee they would survive. Most of the concealed drugs were heroin and cocaine. Leaking pellets had left some couriers with long-term health problems, others had died. In 2006, a Brisbane man died after returning from Thailand having swallowed 37 condoms full of cocaine. The AFP charged 28 people for internally secreting drugs in 2006...almost a 200% increase on 2005 charges. Australian Medical Association vice-president Steve Hambleton said condoms filled with drugs could burst. "The chances of a medical rescue are remote," Dr Hambleton told News Limited. "Stomach acid is potent (and there's) the mincing action of the body to dissolve it." He said drug mules risked death. Those who did survive could be left with brain damage from a lack of oxygen, or may have to have wear a colostomy bag because part of their bowel had to be removed. The AFP has been criticised for its decision to allow drug mule members of the so-called Bali Nine to be arrested in Indonesia rather than when they arrived in Australia. Three of them - Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran, and Scott Rush - have been sentenced to death under Indonesia's harsh anti-drug laws. Rush is currently awaiting a decision on his appeal from the Supreme Court in Jakarta. His legal team says Rush was a minor player, had no knowledge of the wider syndicate and would have been given a much lesser sentence had he been convicted in Australia. His two key appeal witnesses...ex AFP commissioner Mick Keelty and current Deputy Commissioner Mick Phelan - gave evidence for a mitigation. Bali Nine member Martin Stephens lost his last appeal against his life sentence.

Media Release: Warning to drug couriers (Australian Federal Police)...

Release Date: Sunday, January 30 2011, 06:00 AM

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is warning people considering acting as an internal drug courier that they are not only risking imprisonment, but also death or serious injury.

Since December 2008, the AFP has charged 77 people for importing drugs via internal concealment, and is concerned that couriers see this as a legitimate way to smuggle drugs, despite the consequences of possible emergency surgery and long term health problems.

Over a number of years the AFP has seen a variety of dangerous concealments where couriers have swallowed or concealed drugs internally and the materials used to wrap the package have ruptured, leaked or disintegrated inside their body - leading to an extremely high risk of death.

In one instance, a woman required dangerous emergency surgery after she was found to have four soft drink can-sized objects inside her body, two of which had turned horizontally and obstructed her bowels.

On another occasion, a male courier died after one of the 29 pellets he swallowed ruptured, resulting in a fatal cocaine overdose.

Internal drug couriers should be aware that regardless of their medical condition, they will be charged for trafficking drugs and face severe penalties either in Australia or in the countries they transit.

AFP Superintendent Crime Operations Stephan Obers said those who engage in this illegal activity put their lives in danger with every pellet they swallow or conceal.

"In the vast majority of these matters, the drugs involved are heroin or cocaine and can be up to 90 per cent pure. If only one pellet with a few grams of these drugs ruptures inside a person, they are looking at a fatal overdose," Superintendent Obers said.

"Sometimes a person is fortunate enough to undergo emergency surgery, but these procedures are very traumatic and invasive, and can lead to life-long complications, such as the need for colostomy bags and dialysis.

"Internal concealment demonstrates what an evil trade drug trafficking is. It shows the desperate measures people will take, to the extent of risking their own life, to smuggle illicit drugs."

In the past two years, more than 70 per cent of drugs smuggled via internal concealment were found to be heroin, while 23 per cent was cocaine. Couriers have also been caught carrying ecstasy tablets and cannabis.

Federal Australian Medical Association Vice President Dr Steve Hambleton emphasised the health risks associated with people smuggling drugs inside their body.

"Drugs are lethal in overdose and will be rapidly absorbed into your body."

"In the past, concealments have failed with deadly consequences as medical rescue is usually too late to help, or fails due to the massive doses delivered to the body." Dr Hambleton said.

The maximum penalty for smuggling drugs into Australia internally is 25 years imprisonment and/or a $550,000 fine.

"I urge people who may be considering acting as a drug courier to think again. This crime is just not worth the risk," Superintendent Obers said.

Media enquiries 

AFP National Media Team 

Phone: (02) 6131 6333

Media Release: Two people arrested for attempting to import methamphetamine

Release Date: Tuesday, February 01 2011, 02:44 PM

This is a joint media release between the AFP and Customs and Border Protection

A 23-year-old-man and a 22-year-old-woman, both from Hong Kong, were arrested last night at Sydney International Airport for attempting to import methamphetamine into Australia.

The man and woman are scheduled to appear in the Sydney Central Local Court today. 

Customs and Border Protection officers stopped the man and woman for questioning when they arrived at Sydney International Airport on a flight from Hong Kong yesterday (31 January)

During a search, officers found a crystalline powder substance in a number of packages inside the lining of each of the couple’s suitcases.  Each suitcase contained over 1.5 kilograms of a substance which initial testing indicated was methamphetamine. 

Further forensic testing will be undertaken to confirm the exact weight and purity of the substance.

The couple were referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and charged with importing a marketable quantity of border controlled drug, namely Methamphetamine contrary to section 307.2(1) of the Criminal Code Act (Cth) 1995.

It will be alleged the couple attempted to import a collective amount of approximately 3 kilograms of methamphetamines. 

The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment and/or a $550,000 fine.

Media enquiries:

AFP National Media (02) 6131 6333

Customs and Border Protection Communication and Media (02) 6275 6793

Drug Dealer Sells To NSW Education Ministers Husband: NSW Premier Not Impressed...

An alleged drug dealer charged with selling an ecstasy pill to the husband of New South Wales Education Minister Verity Firth had a wide range of drugs when he was arrested last Friday, according to court documents. Gerald Hugh Gordon, 30, of inner-city Pyrmont, appeared via video link in Sydney's Central Local Court today on a total of 16 drug-related and proceeds of crime offences. The offences include allegedly selling a single ecstasy pill to Matthew Chesher, 44, Ms Firth's husband and the former chief of staff to NSW Roads Minister David Borger. Gordon did not apply for bail, which was formally refused by magistrate Julie Huber, and he is due to appear again at Central Local Court on March 29. According to court documents, police allege Gordon was caught with a wide range of drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and the date rape drug gamma-hydroxybutyrate. He also allegedly had prohibited steroid and testosterone substances and the prescription drug alprazolam, police said. Gordon was allegedly caught supplying some of the drugs in Glebe and Pyrmont on the night of January 28. He was also found in possession of a quantity of cash, alleged to be the proceeds of crime. Chesher has been charged with buying a single ecstasy pill in Glebe on January 28. He is due to front Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on April 1.

Real Life Underbelly; University Of Western Sydney Shows All (Sort Of)...

Real crime is considerably different to what you see on shows like Underbelly, according to former detective Michael Kennedy, who heads the policing program at the University of Western Sydney. With forensic science lecturer Glenn Porter, he is offering up a sample of real-life underbelly - real lift crime investigation at a weekend course. "Detective work isn’t about running around and having fun," Dr Kennedy said. "It can be immensely rewarding and also draining. There is a huge responsibility to get it right." Porter, an expert in crime scene and forensic photography, worked for the Australian Federal Police before joining UWS in 2004. "I will be presenting a case study on a double murder case and talking about how CCTV evidence was used," Porter said. The new $1 million crime scene house at the Hawkesbury campus gives students the opportunity to experience real-life situations. "If people are interested in crime shows or crime novels, this course gives a different perspective," Porter said.

A Media Man spokesperson said "The universities 'Crime Scene Investigation' weekend course is excellent we hear. It really helps sort out the fact from the fiction. It's great to hear of universities offering courses that are really relevant and important to society."


WHAT: Be Seen at the Crime Scene, a UWS Summertime Series course

WHERE: UWS Hawkesbury

WHEN: February 5-6

COST: $500 including accommodation and food


4M Cocaine Bust; Strong Links To Pro Poker World...

Three Melbourne men have faced court accused of trying to import more than $4 million of cocaine into the country hidden in steel machine parts. The trio were charged in relation to the 21-kilogram bust after Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted a sea cargo consignment sent from Vancouver. The stash was discovered concealed in the equipment upon its arrival in Sydney on January 17. The Australian Federal Police allege Darren Francis Hughes, 27, of Kew, took delivery of the drugs a week later. Hughes, Robert Alan Remeeus, of Vermont South, 27, and David Saab, 37 (poker pro) of Balwyn North, appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court this morning charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine and attempting to possess a commercial quantity of cocaine. The men were remanded in custody without applying for bail. The men are facing a life behind bars, and would be lucky to find a pack of cards, if that. In Australian jails wagers are known to be placed on who gets killed next, and no, we are not kidding.

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*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

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