Hot off the heels of Operation Ironside, the Australian Federal Police are cracking down on organised crime syndicates and have pointed to Griffith as a hotspot.
June 8 marks the first anniversary of Operation Ironside, the AFP's largest ever operation - in which a collaboration between the FBI and the AFP led to organised crime rings using a 'secure' smartphone messaging app that was secretly run and monitored by law enforcement.
The sting operation has now led to the AFP announcing a crackdown on 51 Italian organised crime clans in Australia, using information gathered from Operation Ironside. The agency has identified regional NSW in particular as home to 14 separate clans including cells of the infamous 'Ndrangheta mafia.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Crime Command Nigel Ryan said that they had been mapping the 'Ndrangheta syndicate.
"In collaboration with Italian authorities, the AFP has been mapping and assessing the familial relationships, through blood or marriage of the 'Ndrangheta in Australia,'' he explained.
"Our world-leading capabilities and our international networks are beginning to remove the cloak of secrecy that has allowed members of the 'Ndrangeta to operate in Australia with impunity for too many years."
He cited Griffith's historical link to organised crime, and noted that the strong agricultural economy of the area had been attractive to organised crime leaders looking to hide money.
"Certainly they have established themselves in regional areas. Griffith has been one. Originally a lot of Italians established themselves in agricultural types of businesses and that has actually been quite a sort in terms of hiding some of their illegitimate wealth."
Of course, Griffith is overwhelmingly Italian and has it's own complicated history with organised crime. Approximately sixty per cent of the population can claim some kind of Italian heritage, and the AFP was quick to note that they would be targeting no specific ethnic groups or specific countries.
"If you are a member of a cartel operating out of Mexico, a member of a triad operating out of Asia or a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang in Australia, and you are impacting on Australians because of your illegal activity, then you will be targeted by the AFP."
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