A Perth criminal lawyer has been caught up in the ‘sting of the century’ which culminated in the arrest of dozens of alleged bikie and mafia figures during raids this week.
Dubbed Operation Ironside, Australian Federal Police and the FBI secretly monitored the communications of hundreds of underworld figures for three years through an encrypted app called An0m.
In the past 48 hours, the nationwide operation has led to the execution of 598 search warrants, 251 arrests, 128 weapon seizures and the recovery of $46 million in cash and 3.8 tonnes of illicit drugs.
In Western Australia, 29 people have been charged, 136 encrypted An0m devices seized and 76 kilograms of drugs and $9.5 million in cash recovered.
AFP Western Command Assistant Commissioner, Chris Craner, said the raids had stopped money laundering and drug trafficking into WA on an industrial scale, with bikie members, Asian crime syndicates and mafia figures caught up in the covert operation.
Ted Dobson, son of late prominent Perth lawyer Terry Dobson, was also among those charged.
“Police will allege this defence lawyer directed an associate to destroy potential evidence in a current criminal matter,” Mr Craner said.
“He is also accused of providing details of a charged man’s family to another senior OMCG member offshore who allegedly threatened harm to him and his family if he spoke to police.”
Mr Dobson is yet to enter a plea and is due to appear in Perth Magistrates Court on July 30.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the unprecedented operation had uncovered and unmasked the way criminal enterprises worked.
“We have not found anyone who is not a criminal that we’re alleging has bought and used these,” he told Radio 6PR.
“They look like a phone, but they’re not used as a phone there’s just really an encrypted, like an SMS messaging system, you can’t actually make a phone call on them, but they essentially look like it, so if I was to put my phone on the table, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
“The fact we’ve back-doored this … the message to those criminals, they will never know whether in fact police, law enforcement are listening yes or no, because they can no longer trust these.”
It is not known what evidence is relevant to the charges laid against Mr Dobson, including whether he owned an An0m device. It is not suggested he is involved in any of the more serious charges linked to the sting operation.