How Covert Cops Busted Mafia Marijuana Plantations In Australia

The Honoured Society, a Calabrian derivative of the Mafia, built a large marijuana industry around the borders of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales in the 1980s.

Mafia members would coerce local farmers to plant the drugs in their vineyards, evading aerial surveillance deployed by the police to spot the plants.

Former detective Ray Shuey worked with an undercover team to buy 50 kilograms of marijuana straight from the source, to find out where it was coming from.

Former detective Ray Shuey unpacks the history of the Honoured Society in Australian vineyards on the Crime Insiders podcast:

“It was a 50 kilogram deal to start off with in bags of marijuana,” Shuey said, “We organised it and tracked them to Euston in New South Wales.”

The team realised they’d need to convince the mafia members to bring the drugs to Victoria, as Police can only make arrests in their own state.

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“We convinced the two guys that, if they bought the drugs back over to Victoria because we were too scared that we might be picked up by the fruit fly inspectors who were manning a lot of the points along the Murray River,” Shuey said.

As soon as the mafia members came back into Victoria, Shuey’s team arrested them and got a warrant to search the farm it came from.

“We did the search of the place, we uncovered this industry, marijuana industry. There was about 10,000 plants, 2 to 3m high, very well cultivated and growing in amongst the vineyards,” he said.

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