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Sydney Sylvania cocaine Colombian cartel $1.6 million fake bookshelf AFP

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Inside a Colombian cartel’s $1.6M home in a quiet Sydney suburb – where a fake bookshelf concealed a passageway to rooms filled with drugs and cash

  • Extraordinary stash hidden behind fake bookshelf concealing two secret rooms
  • AFP found cannabis, cocaine, $130,000 in cash and imitation weapons in home
  • Two men were asked to forfeit $1.6million property in Sydney’s south on Friday

A suspected Colombian crime cartel active in Sydney used a seemingly normal suburban home as their base – hiding their stash of drugs in a secret room hidden behind a fake bookshelf. 

The secret drug room was uncovered when the $1.6million home in Sylvania, in Sydney’s south, during a raid in 2017 which saw cocaine, cash, cannabis and imitation weapons seized.

The home was forfeited on Friday because it was purchased using the proceeds of crime. 

Extraordinary photos have revealed how cocaine smugglers used an electric door disguised as as a bookshelf to hide an extraordinary stash of illicit drugs (pictured)

The electric door was used to conceal two window-less rooms stuffed with ordinary junk like cardboard boxes and tins of paint, as well as illicit drugs (pictured)

The electric door was used to conceal two window-less rooms stuffed with ordinary junk like cardboard boxes and tins of paint, as well as illicit drugs (pictured)

The five-bedroom property was searched by the Australian Federal Police in April 2017 as part of an investigation into a Colombian organised crime group. 

When officers entered the home they were confronted with a seemingly ordinary bookshelf crowded with books including a series of Lonely Planet travel guides. 

The electric door was used to conceal two window-less rooms which were full of household junk such as cardboard boxes and tins of paint – and illicit drugs and piles of cash.  

In a statement on Sunday, the AFP said the rooms contained ‘cocaine, cannabis, cannabis resin, mobile phones, scales, clip-seal bags, a substance commonly used to cut drugs, and equipment used to detect surveillance devices’.

Officers also found $130,000 in cash and two imitation firearms in the home. 

Officers also found $130,000 in cash and two imitation firearms in other parts of the home

Officers also found $130,000 in cash and two imitation firearms in other parts of the home

The five-bedroom property was searched by the Australian Federal Police in April 2017 as part of an investigation into a Colombian organised crime group

The five-bedroom property was searched by the Australian Federal Police in April 2017 as part of an investigation into a Colombian organised crime group

One of the homeowners was sentenced to three years and six months in April 2019.

The now 48-year-old man pleaded guilty to a money laundering offence and the deemed supply of a prohibited drug.

Just three months later the AFP slapped restraining orders on the property meaning the $1.6million home could not be passed into other hands. 

They claimed there were reasonable grounds to believe the home ‘was used in, or in connection with, various drug offences’. 

On Friday, two men were asked to forfeit the home to the Commonwealth after it was deemed to have been used as an ‘instrument of crime’. 

In a statement on Sunday, the AFP said the rooms contained 'cocaine, cannabis, cannabis resin, mobile phones, scales, clip-seal bags, a substance commonly used to cut drugs, and equipment used to detect surveillance devices'

In a statement on Sunday, the AFP said the rooms contained ‘cocaine, cannabis, cannabis resin, mobile phones, scales, clip-seal bags, a substance commonly used to cut drugs, and equipment used to detect surveillance devices’

The five-bedroom house will be sold, with the proceeds to go to the confiscated assets account managed by the Australian Financial Security Authority

The five-bedroom house will be sold, with the proceeds to go to the confiscated assets account managed by the Australian Financial Security Authority

The five-bedroom house will be sold, with the proceeds to go to the confiscated assets account managed by the Australian Financial Security Authority.

AFP National Manager Criminal Assets Confiscation Stefan Jerga said the raid was an example of the AFP’s two-pronged strategy when it came to organised crime.

The AFP wants to ensure that when offenders are released from jail they no longer have the spoils of criminal activity at their disposal,’ Mr Jerga said.

‘Law-abiding Australians work hard to buy their first home – they go to work, they pay their taxes and they save up for a deposit. Organised criminals flout their greed and often use violence in accumulating their criminal wealth.

‘The AFP will continue to unleash maximum damage on the criminal environment, especially organised criminals who peddle misery into the community by trafficking illicit drugs.’



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