Jail for head of drug ring which reached Ballarat

A MAN the Australian Federal Police described as the “head” of an organised crime syndicate which allegedly involved Ballarat residents, was jailed yesterday.

Accused syndicate kingpin Mohammed Oueida was jailed for at least five-and-a-half years for drug trafficking.

Several Ballarat properties were raided on April 6 2011, when AFP officers, customs officials, Victoria Police drug squad members and Ballarat police swooped on a number of addresses in co-ordinated strikes.

Eight Ballarat people were charged in those raids while five other people, including Oueida, were arrested in Melbourne on the same day.

County Court judge Liz Gaynor said Oueida had played a major role in a large-scale drug manufacturing and trafficking operation. When Oueida was arrested during one of the Melbourne raids last year, police claimed he was living in a $2.8 million mansion with an eight-hole golf course, a swimming pool and tennis court, and had a Hummer, a Ferrari , a light plane, and $6 million in a Swiss bank account.

An investigation involving the Australian Crime Commission, Victoria Police, the AFP and Customs had been set up in March 2010 targeting Oueida.

The prosecutor said Oueida would make regular trips to a clandestine drug laboratory outside Melbourne.

Oueida, 36, pleaded guilty to trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamines, dealing in the proceeds of crime, and possessing an unregistered semi-automatic rifle. Judge Gaynor jailed Oueida for a total of eight-and-a-half years with a non-parole period of five-and-a-half years.

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