An Australian government intelligence operation has determined that Qantas has been infiltrated by organized crime with up to 150 employees linked to criminal gangs in an effort to smuggle drugs into the country, and for other nefarious purposes.
A classified federal law enforcement intelligence operation code-named Project Brunello has determined that a “significant” number of Qantas staff – up to 150 – are linked to criminality. The operation describes suspected wrongdoing that is “serious and represents a very high threat to the Australian border”.
Reportedly a mid-level Qantas manager at Sydney airport is the head of the “Comanchero motorcycle gang affiliate who is linked to international drug cartel boss Hakan Ayik.” This person was presumably running people who were ostensibly his bosses as well as subordinates as part of the extensive criminal organization.
The intelligence operation also revealed that five of the employees are linked to Islamic extremism, but the still-confidential report doesn’t detail what constitutes a ‘link’. It may just be part of the drug operation, which also was discovered to include “a Hells Angels-linked figure in the Northern Territory” and a “former Qantas baggage handler turned wealthy Sydney racing identity” – a transformation attributable to “import[ing] $1 billion worth of cocaine via Qantas and a corrupt Qantas baggage handler, who has also since been jailed.”
The Qantas departments at the highest risk were its air freight division and ground crew and baggage handling divisions. Almost 60 Qantas staff were linked to “serious drug offences” or “organised crime groups”. Twenty-three Qantas employees have “used employment in the aviation environment to facilitate various criminal activities”.
Seven Qantas staff have been linked to child exploitation, including an employee charged last year with possessing and manufacturing child pornography outside of Australia, with the report warning of a possible small network of sex offenders at Brisbane international airport.
…The commission says nine men drawn mostly from Australian bikie gangs and middle-eastern crime syndicates make up what the agency has named the “Aussie Cartel”. The cartel’s key Comanchero-linked members have connections to some of the suspected Qantas “trusted insiders” identified by Brunello.
The report is apparently being leaked now for political purposes, to support proposed new government state security powers over airports and ports which is being opposed by Labor and some unions.
Qantas, in a statement, says they know nothing about it and didn’t even know there was an investigation.