#1 2019-05-02 09:00

Registered: 2019-04-01
Posts: 165

[NEWS] Kiwi Steen McBeth accused of using Bitcoin business as front

Source: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12224245

A Kiwi is among a trio of people due in court in relation to the bust of an international drug ring in Australia.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) allege the group used a Bitcoin business as a front for a crime syndicate that sourced and distributed illicit drugs.

Steen McBeth, 28, is facing charges related to importing cocaine, MDMA and crystal methamphetamine, the Daily Mail Australia reports.

McBeth is from New Zealand where parents Denise and Murray founded the postal services company Pete's Post.

Prior to that the family had been based in Hawera, Taranaki.

McBeth and another man, Jackson Li, were arrested in October 2017 after Border Patrol officers found suspicious mail packages at Melbourne Airport in February that year, the Daily Mail reports.

The AFP said that concealed inside the mail were 15.8kg of MDMA, 2.6kg of cocaine and 1.1kg of ketamine.

Drugs seized by the Australian federal police. Photo / Supplied
Drugs seized by the Australian federal police. Photo / Supplied
Three search warrants were used to raid properties in the Melbourne suburbs of Mernda and Kew.

During the search warrants, police seized a large quantity of drugs including 1kg of crystal methamphetamine (ice), 700 grams of cocaine, 10kg of MDMA, 1kg cannabis, 1kg ketamine and 10 vials of testosterone.

Police also seized a large quantity of cash as well as a Lamborghini sports car believed to be the proceeds of crime.

McBeth's arrest came just days after he picked up the keys to the Lamborghini which he had purchased from Sam Karagiozis, according to the Daily Mail.

McBeth purhcased a top of the range Lamborghini from his mate Karagiozis and had it painted black before it was taken by police. Photo / Supplied
McBeth purhcased a top of the range Lamborghini from his mate Karagiozis and had it painted black before it was taken by police. Photo / Supplied
Prior to flying overseas McBeth dropped the car off at a customising shop to have it turned from green to black, at a cost of close to AU$6000.

He picked up the Lamborghini on October 21, 2017 - but six days later it was gone.

While the pair were in custody police allege Karagiozis, 27, played a key role in directing the criminal syndicate's operation, which used various dark net sites, bitcoin accounts and legitimate business for the sourcing, payment and distribution of the illicit drugs.

Karagiozis, known for having 'self-made' tattooed on his knuckles, was arrested in March 2019.

Property valued in excess of $2 million was restrained.

This included several bank accounts, real estate properties, motor vehicles, a motorbike, cash and cryptocurrency.

McBeth and Karagiozis founded Auscoin, a Bitcoin trading business, in 2017. The company was officially registered with ASIC on October 25, 2017.

AFP Detective Superintendent Paul Hopkins said last month that targeting assets allowed authorities to remove the profit motivation that drives most criminal activity.

"When you take the profit out of crime, you hit offenders where it hurts most. Combined with serious criminal charges attracting long prison sentences, this highlights how trafficking drugs is simply not worth it in the long-run," Hopkins said.

"Investigations such as this are inherently complex and the operational results achieved by the investigative team are a testament to good police work and strong interagency cooperation."

Karagiozis is charged with 14 offences relating to drug trafficking, importing and also dealing with the proceeds of crime.

McBeth faces 16 charges and Li has so far been charged with eight offences..

The trio were due to appear before the Melbourne County Court next month..

What you do in life echoes in eternity...

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