Australian Federal Police have arrested an employee of an Emirates-owned airline and charged him with drug trafficking and money laundering offenses as a result of the investigation into Operation Ironside.
The man, Frank Meredith, is a Sydney Airport-based employee of Emirates-owned airline company Dubai National Air Travel Agency (DNATA), and his arrest came after a two-year operation by AFP.
The investigation previously led to the indictment of two Sydney men for importing 38 kilograms of methamphetamine on an Air Canada flight in March 2019, enabling investigators to uncover the alleged infiltration of DNATA’s Sydney Airport division.
A DNATA spokesperson confirmed in a statement that one of its employees was in police custody in Australia, but declined to comment on “ongoing legal proceedings and investigations by authorities.”
“DNATA is committed to ethical business practices and acts in accordance with all laws, regulations and industry standards… We are fully cooperating with authorities in their investigations,” the statement said.
Operation Ironside was unveiled by the AFP on Tuesday and led to hundreds of arrests of organized crime figures around the world throughout the week.
In a statement, the AFP said one of the crime syndicates identified by Ironside “consisted of people with trusted insider access at the airport, who used encrypted devices to communicate”.
The arrests come just days later The age and The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that law enforcement agencies believe Qantas has been infiltrated by organized crime groups, including at Sydney airport.