Operation CROZET Suspect Hit with Six More Drug Trafficking Charges
A Maserati-driving, beach house-owning 25-year-old alleged at the helm of a multi-million dollar drug syndicate will face court on Friday, slapped with six additional charges relating to the alleged importation of cocaine, ketamine and MDMA worth $17 million.
Cody Ward, 25, was arrested by detectives at his Callala Beach home on the state's South Coast in February, following months of surveillance of his alleged online drug sales business.
Investigators believe Mr Ward was buying and selling millions of dollars worth of drugs via the Dark Web, then shipping them to clients across Australia via the postal system.
Police say customers received free samples, with a small amount of cocaine being sent with the purchase of MDMA or other drugs.
The Dark Web is an encrypted part of the internet only accessible to users with special software that is meant to allow users to remain anonymous.
Upon his arrest in January, Mr Ward was charged with four counts of drug supply, knowingly directing activities of a criminal group and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
As police raided his South Coast home in January, investigators seized:
- more than $80,000 in cash;
- a Maserati and a Mercedes Benz;
- a vacuum sealer, mobile phones;
- .5 kilograms of powder believed to be cocaine, amphetamines and other substances;
- 100,000 LSD tabs;
- Xanax and other pills.
Sisters Shanese Koullias, 24, and Patricia Koullias, 20, were also charged over their roles in the operation, which police believe involved packaging and sending the drugs.
All three remain behind bars. On Tuesday, Mr Ward was slapped with six further charges - four counts of import commercial quantity of border-controlled drugs, and two counts of import marketable quantity of border-controlled drugs.
In February, the NSW Crime Commission successfully won a bid to freeze Mr Ward's assets and those of Shanese Koullias.
Among Mr Ward's assets are cars, his Callala Bay home and funds held in three Commonwealth Bank accounts.
The freeze order made by the NSW Supreme Court's Justice David Davies also allows for the NSW Trustee and Guardian to take control of cash police seized during Mr Ward's arrest: $14,000 located in his car and almost $100,000 spread across three houses.
Both Mr Ward and Ms Shanese Koullias will also be forced to give sworn evidence in court about their financial affairs and property dealings, Justice Davies ruled.
Mr Ward will appear in Nowra Local Court to face the new charges on Friday.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald