Police intelligence helps nab more than $590 million in drugs, $11 million in cash last year

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More than 100 previously undetected money laundering targets have been identified in just the past 12 months by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

ACIC chief executive Chris Dawson released the data to WAtoday this week to mark exactly one year of ACIC coming into force.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission chief Chris Dawson. Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission chief Chris Dawson. Photo: Supplied

Mr Dawson said 118 previously unknown money laundering targets had been identified by ACIC since its formation on July 1 last year.

Previous research suggests more than $1.5 trillion of illegal funds is laundered worldwide every year.

Mr Dawson said ACIC had also, in the past 12 months:

– helped seize more than $590 million in drugs and more than $11 million in cash

– examined several terrorists and associates during “coercive hearings” with intelligence from those hearings since passed onto various law enforcement agencies, and

– assisted in processing more than five million national background police checks.

Mr Dawson said ACIC had also had “good success” in the past 12 months cracking down on international cyber criminal networks.

Many of the networks targeting Australians are located in eastern European nations such as Ukraine and Romania.

A tool of the international scammers involves them running sophisticated investment schemes, infecting people’s computers and holding their victims to ransom.

“With these sorts of crimes, we have to work and do work with international partners, because you just can’t interrupt these things from Australia,” Mr Dawson said.

“We’ve seen the benefit of actually locating our people overseas. It is a really important and growing part of ACIC’s work.”

Mr Dawson, a former WA Police deputy commissioner, said that in a matter of weeks another wastewater analysis report would be released, giving a detailed breakdown of Australia’s drug use.

ACIC released the first National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report in March. It found WA had far exceeded the national ‘average’ of ice use.

“I’m waiting for the final report to come through, but I don’t expect that the trends are going to be altering dramatically,” Mr Dawson said of the upcoming report.

The creation of a National Criminal Intelligence System continues to be a top priority for the agency, Mr Dawson added.

A prototype system has been developed, with the overall intention to create an information and intelligence sharing database across law enforcement agencies.

“On the briefings I’ve received (on the prototype) all the way through, it is very much proving highly valuable,” he said.