Big names nabbed in drug ring

SOME of Australia’s biggest alleged drug barons, including a former Olympian, have been netted by police who claim to have smashed six major syndicates and dealt a ‘devastating blow’ to the illegal drug trade.

Warren Richards, 60, is believed to be the most senior of the alleged drug barons arrested.

He briefly appeared in Burwood Local Court on Wednesday charged with 18 counts of drug supply and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

The judo champion from Croydon Park, who took part in the 1976 Montreal Games, didn’t apply for bail.

Also at Burwood was Alec Shalala, 56, of Campsie, who faced six counts of supplying a prohibited drug, namely amphetamines.

He also faced one charge of supply a prohibited drug on an ongoing basis and supplying amphetamines in a large commercial quantity, 1.2kg.

A third man, Chabel Boumelhem, 29, of Concord, faced four charges of supplying amphetamines in November and December this year.

Magistrate Christopher Longley refused bail for all three and adjourned their matters to Central Local Court on February 10.

Six people appeared in Kogarah Local Court and all were refused bail. They will appear in Central Local Court on December 14.

The operation which led to the arrests, Strike Force Domino, began a year ago.

It was so extensive it required NSW Police Minister Michael Daley to authorise a one-off $1.7 million grant to fund it.

“This is one of the proudest days, not only for the government but for the police force,” he said.

“The massive implications of this operation should not be underestimated.”

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