The Australian police on Thursday claimed that some foreign governments are assisting organized crime groups in the country, according to media reports.
Speaking at a meeting of the Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance comprising the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the drug cartels and other organized crime groups are being infiltrated and assisted by hostile forces, according to ABC News.
“State actors and citizens from some nations are using our countries at the expense of our sovereignty and economies,” Kershaw told officials from the FBI, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, New Zealand Police and the UK's National Crime Agency.
“Federal crime in Australia is increasing,” the commissioner added.
Kershaw’s statement came after the Australian police on Tuesday said that more than 50 Italian organized crime clans, including the ‘Ndrangheta, with thousands of members are operating in the country.
These groups work in league with their Italian partners and are “washing billions of dollars a year through the Australian economy,” controlling the illegal drugs trade, and perpetuating violence through local affiliates, according to Nigel Ryan, assistant commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.
He said the police plan to target these organized crime groups “by attacking their finances, communications and operations.”
“We have about 51 Italian organized crime clans in Australia. We have identified 14 confirmed ‘Ndrangheta clans across Australia, involving thousands of members,” said Ryan.
The ‘Ndrangheta is not just an Australian problem – it is a global problem and responsible for trafficking 70% of the world’s cocaine, he said, adding: “In Australia, they are also responsible for cannabis and methamphetamine trafficking.”