Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
Gangs Of Oz -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) brought to you by the Mazda6. VOICEOVER: This program the driver in you. It'll really bring out

AGENT MORGAN. DEREK. THIS WAY. FROM THE FBI. THIS IS AGENT MORGAN MY PARTNER'S FAMILY. MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM AND SAM, MRS. CUNNINGHAM, FOR YOUR LOSS. I'M SORRY THANK YOU. HEY, SAM... WHO DID THIS. WE GOT THE BAD GUY WAS A HERO. SAM, YOUR FATHER FORGET THAT. DON'T YOU EVER

WHO SHEDS HIS BLOOD WITH ME MORGAN: "FOR HE TODAY SHALL BE MY BROTHER." WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

Tonight on Gangs of Oz, COLIN FRIELS: of the Italian Mafia, the incredible story right here in Australia. how organised they were. I was amazed back then takes us into the grubby world Our ex-undercover cop of Mafia gangs.

with corruption and fear How they ruled and ordered ruthless violence...

..murder, extortion... (SIREN WAILS) the office exploded near two men. MAN: A parcel bomb delivered to their lucrative drug rackets. ..all to protect MICK DRURY: It was amazing. into the heatwave on the horizon. It actually disappeared That's how large it was. Take your clothes off, mate. this undercover cop And the extraordinary lengths to keep his cover. had to go to in order I'm not taking my clothes off. Take your fucking clothes off. to prostitution, From nude drug deals

gave the performance of his life. for six years Damian Marrett with the Italians MARRETT: After dealing for the last three or four months, it was obvious that I had no reason not to enjoy a prostitute. where the violence continues - It's a deadly world even after death. Come on, stop it. Stop it! Come on! Stop it! Stop it! (ENGINE REVS)

(THEME MUSIC)

(SIREN WAILS) (GUNSHOT) Got some...? home-grown version of the Mafia. Australia has its own are from Italy's poor south, Its roots

the region of Calabria. Ah, shut up you ----ing... after World War II In Australia, its power grew

some with Mafia connections, when thousands of Italian migrants, made their way to Australia. The Calabrians have been involved spanning cannabis production, in criminal activity heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, insurance frauds, hashish importation, other types of frauds... ..through to money laundering, to passport offences.

there is a hierarchy, a leader. With all organised crime With the Mafia, it's a Godfather. identified as Godfathers There are people who would be rule the organisation but they don't, in fact, as they do in Italy. They are more of a father-figure

and/or get advice. from whom people seek counsel

had its roots here, Back in the '60s the Australian Mafia Queen Victoria markets. at Melbourne's

to have their produce sold Sellers paid the Mafia a cut to buy the produce and wholesalers paid a levy at a particular price. most lucrative returns in those days In money terms, they were among the backstreet gambling in Victoria compared with, say,

or small-time brothels. and it made the then Mafia It was very lucrative very powerful in Victorian terms. Because of the money involved, for control, there was a continual battle often ending in death. Calabrian-born Vincenzo Angilletta. The first to go was this man -

on April 4, 1963. He was blasted to death (CLICKS) (GUNSHOT) Then on January 16, 1964, assassinated - Calabrian-born Vincenzo Muratore of Angilletta. payback for the first shooting Menzies-era Australia. These shootings shook up the Mafia had arrived. It was clear to everyone and the law, NEWSREADER: To the Government

on a one-way road to ruin. this is the first step where the pot smokers gather, But in the well-locked rooms on the rights or wrongs. there is no debate Fast-forward a decade later. of the '70s, When marijuana became the drug to make megabucks. the Mafia seized an opportunity It was really easy. of the fruit-growers They had the connections that supplied the markets, more than just fruit. and pretty soon they were growing

the Mafia was making millions By the early '70s, Griffith in country New South Wales. from their marijuana crops around were showing unexplained wealth. GLEN ROSS: People in Griffith being built down there There was houses referred to as 'grass castles'. a lot of marijuana grown in the area The rumours were there was were involved in it. and that certain groups or families of obvious criminal wealth The open display

furniture store owner was too much for Griffith Donald Mackay. and local aspiring Liberal politician to stop the rot in his town Mackay was determined

into his own hands, so he took matters and passing it on to the police. gathering information

went and interviewed Don Mackay Myself and my colleagues at his furniture shop in Griffith property at Coleambally and he told us about this particular if you like. and he drew us a mud map, the cops went to check it out. Armed with a mud map, Back in 1975, was a young drug squad cop. Mick Drury police officer, There was the local with two other detectives in the paddy wagon from the drug squad in Sydney.

I was on the motorbike in the front. Me being the junior police officer, I could see a number of males... As I was approaching the property ..running out into the bushland. And I grabbed a white Holden ute that was a farm vehicle in the vehicle with me. and Glen Ross jumped When we arrived at the plantation, two of the offenders obviously thought that it was a friendly car approaching. One we arrested. Police! Hey! (YELLS) And one, probably about 200m over to my left... Hey! Let him go! ..he came out with a shotgun in his hand. At that stage, the uniform officer, Bobby Howson... ..pulled a rifle out of the paddy wagon... (GUNSHOT) Drop it! Drop the gun!

..fired it well and truly into the sky above the offender's head. Drop it now! Put the gun down! Put the gun down.

Put it down now! Get your hands up.

Let's go. Over to the car. Over to the car. Spread your legs. Spread your legs. There was a huge amount of marijuana growing there. I'd never seen anything like it.

I'd seen marijuana crops up to five acres previous to this but I'd never seen anything like this in my life. It was amazing.

It actually disappeared into the heatwave on the horizon. That's how large it was. The find shocked Griffith. For Don Mackay, it was a victory. For the Mafia, it was millions up in smoke. It got to the stage where I think Don was ready to start naming the people in the big Coleambally drug bust because the police weren't able to convict anyone of that big bust. Donald Mackay, the heroic family man who decided to take on the Mafia didn't get his chance to name names. On July 15, 1977, Donald Mackay's car was found in this pub car park. He had left his furniture store for a quick beer after work. Police found three bullet cases, his keys and a pool of blood. His body was nowhere to be seen and to this day has never been found.

He'd obviously been murdered and disposed of by an organised crime group. It was historic. I don't think anything like that had ever happened in Australian history and I think probably Australia grew up a little bit that day. When the police first came to see me I just knew straightaway when they told me what they'd found that Don had gone.

I know that many people in high places say publicly there is no such thing as organised crime and corruption in New South Wales. Now, if they think that that's what the ordinary people in the street believe, they're right out of touch. Two years after the disappearance of Donald Mackay, the town of Griffith was turned upside down when the Woodward Royal Commission was set up to investigate drug trafficking and Mackay's murder.

The report named Francesco Sergi, Dominic Sergi, Antonio Sergi from the winery, Francesco Barbaro and Robert Trimbole as the men who ordered the hit on Donald Mackay. No charges were ever laid. Attempts from the press to interview some of those named were met with hostility. WOMAN: We're looking for Dominic.

MAN: Yeah? I'm Dominic. Dominic Sergi. Yeah? What do you want? You're the one that was in the Royal Commission. Put the machine down, alright? (YELLS) MAN: I'll put it in the car. (BLEEP) off! I'm gonna put it in the car. Why won't you answer...? Shut up. (BLEEP) off! It was 10 years after the assassination of Don Mackay before James Bazley was convicted of conspiring to murder him. But true to the Mafia code of silence,

Bazley told the police nothing. He served 15 years. Also named in the Woodward Royal Commission but never put away was Robert Trimbole. He fled to Ireland. As attempts were made to extradite him back to Australia to face charges in 1987, Trimbole turned up dead in Spain. He was brought back to Australia for burial. Got enough now or what? Just get it away, alright?

Trimbole's funeral in Sydney is best remembered for the absurd punch-up between members of the family and the media. Hey. Hey! Come on, mate! Oh, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! Come on, Scottie. Get out of it! Get out of it! (ALL YELLING)

Come on, stop it, stop it! Come on! Pretty hard way to earn a buck, eh? Coming up, for undercover cop Damian Marrett... MAN: How are ya, mate? Yeah, good, mate. ..an unwelcome surprise. The Mafia sends a deadly message that shocks the nation. And... ..a recent massive ecstasy haul confirms the next generation of Mafia is still taking care of business.

Good evening .. The wife of a Canberra firie . . killed in Victoria.. says David Balfour wanted to repay a debt to those who helped fight our blazes six years ago. Former Corrections Minister .. Simon Corbell has told an assembly inquiry .. he still would've gone ahead ... ..with the opening of our Hume prison in September.. even if he knew about delays. Old Parliament House will be

tranformed into the first Museum of Democracy. 91 drivers have been nabbed speeding in a police blitz this morning. And the NRL boss has rejected any change to the salary cap. But the Raiders say it's too hard to compete with big overseas and union offers. Back in an hour.

(DISCO MUSIC)

COLIN FRIELS: In the late '80s, marijuana took a back seat as the demand for designer drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine took over. The Mafia muscled in, making hundreds of millions of dollars. Police were desperate to stop the influx of drugs onto the streets so they started recruiting undercover officers to infiltrate the Mafia and get convictable evidence.

One of those chosen was young Melbourne cop, Damian Marrett. MARRETT: I joined the police force in the start of '87. In all, I spent 16 years in the police force. So six of those years or just over six of those years was undercover. It's harder than what it sounds. You know, a lot of people would say, "Oh, you know,

"I'd like to go out and pretend I'm somebody else and chat," but it's when you've gotta remember all the lies you've been speaking

over the last six months and sustain that life where it just becomes exhausting. Exhausting and addictive. When you do your first job and you get it to the point where some good crooks are busted,

you're basically on a high and you end up trying to chase that high throughout the rest of your undercover, you know, career.

Like all undercover cops,

Damian always had to think on his feet, even under the most bizarre circumstances. One drug deal that I had organised down in Victoria

for a large amount of LSD and ecstasy. I was going to travel to Sydney, meet this crook's connections, pay 230 grand and receive all the drugs. Being undercover sometimes meant wearing a recording device

strapped to his body. Knowing discovery meant certain death, bulky equipment just compounded the risks. There was a little bit of rivalry between Sydney police and Victorian police

and the devices that they MADE me wear were larger than ours and obviously old stock and so I was covered in wires and devices. I knock on the door and...

..there's four crooks inside. When I got in there everyone was naked. Damian, my friend. Come on in. And I basically got a bit of a shock. Yeah, good mate. I'm good. G'day. They tell me to take my clothes off and obviously I can't with the devices. Mate, it's a hot day. Take your clothes off. Feel free. Why? We're all boys. More comfortable.

You poofs or something? Have you got something to hide? Nah, mate. What's going on? I'm trying to grip onto anything to get out of this

and, you know, calling them faggots and, you know, "We do things different in..." I was actually from Perth in my cover story. Uh, you know, "Perth boys don't take their clothes off "for you Sydney gays." What have you got under there? What are you hiding? I've got nothing under there, mate. What are you waiting for? I came here to do a fucking drug deal, you moron. Take your clothes off. Nah, put your clothes back on, mate. I'm not a fucking poof. Take your fucking clothes off! He got angrier and angrier and I knew it was on the verge of fisticuffs or, you know, pulling out weapons. I don't know where they were gonna pull their weapons out from. Take your fucking clothes off! Nah. Mate, I'll fucking talk to you. This is fucking shit. When I got down to the bottom I ripped off the devices and gave them a call and said, "Listen, the reason why I didn't want to get undressed, "we all said no guns - I had a gun. "I'm willing to come back up and get naked." But the crooks didn't go for it. This was one of the many lucky escapes for Damian. While Damian continued his path to infiltrate the Mafia, around the country, police were finding huge dope crops among the grapes of Griffith,

out the back of Bourke and up near Townsville. This was a problem that had to be fought on a national level so the Government formed the National Crime Authority, known as the NCA. PETER LAMB: In the '90s of course, the NCA was primarily focused on two or three organised crime groups, one of which was the Calabrians and it was a national investigation. In Adelaide, together with the South Australian police, they were targeting individuals who they thought were participating in criminal activity. One senior Mafia investigator working for the NCA at the time was Detective Geoffrey Bowen. He was about to be the key witness for the prosecution in an upcoming trial. The day before the trial, the Mafia sent a clear message... On 2 March 1994,

Detective Bowen received a parcel. It was marked as sent from IBM. Security checked the scanner was working, then proceeded to scan the unexpected parcel. It came up clear. It wasn't a terribly sophisticated bomb. Charges were placed inside a parcel with the triggering mechanism focused on the lid.

As Geoffrey Bowen went back to his office to open the parcel, he ironically joked that it might be a bomb. Might be a bomb. (LAUGHS) Bloody hope not. Nah, there's no wire! Once the lid was open on the parcel... ..it triggered the explosion. NEWSREADER: The blast tore apart the NCA office on the top floor of a city building. The street below was showered with glass as windows blew out. Amazingly, no injuries to pedestrians. WOMAN: There was a huge shower of glass and then all paper was falling down and smoke billowing out and some vertical blinds were falling down. There was just mess everywhere. Police say a parcel bomb delivered to the office exploded near two men. One was killed, the second was seriously injured. The dead man was Detective-Sergeant Geoffrey Bowen,

a 36-year-old Western Australian detective on secondment to the NCA. He leaves behind a wife and two young children. This letter bomb was a targeted assassination on a police officer whose upcoming testimony threatened senior Mafia figures. It shows the mentality of the Italian group that they put themselves on such a pedestal that nobody's allowed to touch them

and, you know, sorry, but that's not how it works. So, um... ..you know, it's sad. Geoffrey Bowen was a great detective and...beautiful family, and lost his life just simply because he was trying to uphold the law. NEWSREADER: ..Adelaide court this morning. What's the matter with you? Bowen's assassination had an immediate impact on the trial.

NEWSREADER: This court case was adjourned. Federal prosecutors told the court the trial couldn't go ahead because of Detective Geoff Bowen's death. Ah, shut up, you (BLEEP). Although the police don't doubt the Calabrian Mafia was responsible for the bombing, no-one has ever been convicted of Geoffrey Bowen's murder. But it galvanised law enforcement around the country. LAMB: Traditionally in Australia,

the criminal networks have primarily used corruption as the tool to influence law enforcement. But to be actually attacked in that way was something totally unexpected but it also energised the various organised crime investigation groups around the country. Next,

Damian Marrett wins the trust of the Mafia's inner circle and the incredible secret footage of a huge drug operation in-flight.

And for Damian, partying with the big boys with a do-or-die performance.

(BREATHES SHALLOWLY) MAN: I promised Liz I'd quit on my 30th. (MOWER HUMS) Made six weeks when we had Jase. But I got stressed. I quit every New Year. I was sure I was gonna stop before it did me any serious damage.

I was so sure. VOICEOVER: Face it - there's never going to be a perfect time to quit. You have to beat your habit once and for all - now. PHONE RINGS WOMAN: National Security Hotline. MAN: H , 'm calling about something I saw the other day MAN: Hi, I'm calling about so ething I saw the other day that seemed a bit strange.

WOMAN: I overheard them planning something. I felt like I had to let you know... MAN 2: ..downloaded documents from suspicious websites.

Your detailed information could help keep Australia safe, so if you see or hear something that just doesn't feel right, call the National Security Hotline on: You can remain anonymous. PHONE RINGS WOMAN: National Security Hotline.

NEWSREADER: There was no warning for the National Crime Authority's Detective Sergeant. He is believed to have triggered the massive explosion simply by opening a package addressed to him. COLIN FRIELS: This assassination of a police officer shocked the nation. But it was not so surprising for the people of Mildura, a country town in Victoria famous for its grapes and oranges

and its decades of Mafia-related crime. NEWSREADER: Police found 6,000 marijuana plants growing on a property belonging to this man, Mildura grape-grower Pasquale Caffari. The marijuana had a street value of about $20 million. Marijuana was like gold, only easier to produce. The Mafia quickly eliminated anyone standing in the way of their riches.

NEWSREADER: Marco Medici shot dead. His killer is never found. A year later, brothers-in-law Rocco Medici and Giuseppe Furina are tortured and shot to death. Mildura greengrocer Dominic Marafiote

is killed and buried under a chicken shed there.

His parents are also found murdered. In August 1988, Giuseppe Arena is shot dead execution-style.

He was known to police as the 'washing machine', the man who laundered money for criminals based in Mildura. In June 1992, Mildura was the target of a massive undercover police operation to bust up a huge Mafia drug ring. At the centre of it all was Mafia heavy Matteo Medici. Damian had built up a drug-dealing relationship with Medici,

gradually gaining his trust and increasing the size of the deals. Finally he was ready for the big order. We'd set it up for 50 pounds of cannabis and 50 pounds of amphetamines to be supplied by Medici for the sum of $1,065,000. And naturally, it had to be in cash. We had the million dollars in a big green toolbox. We brought it in for the show

to show that we had the money there in Mildura. No-one had ever asked for this much cash. The money actually came out of the police budget and the money had to be back in the police budget by the following Monday or coppers wouldn't get paid their overtime, so it sort of added another dimension to the job. We met them at a park and we brought with us a dog trailer

and supposedly the Italians were going to load up

the back of that dog trailer with all the drugs, take the money and leave. This is the actual police surveillance footage from that day. You can see Damian there in the baseball cap. Everything was playing out perfectly, when unexpectedly, the plan went haywire. I was briefed beforehand, "If you hear any shots,

"hit the ground, because it means we're coming out firing." Something's been seen or whatever. And what happened was, it was a mistake by a very good SOG member and a good friend of mine, but he's jumped out of the van and accidentally let a shot off as he's hit the ground. Everyone hit the deck. You can see Medici throw his gun. On the video you see Medici sort of run towards the river bank and throw his pistol into the water. At this point, the police Special Operations Group arrested everyone, including Damian. But only a few of the police knew that Damian was one of them and undercover. There was a real hatred from the coppers

towards Medici and his dealings, so they were ready to come into the room and give me a going-over and luckily... ..people on my side sort of came and said, "Oh, look, I'll handle this defendant."

The operation was a huge success, especially for Damian.

Medici was sentenced to eight years in jail.

Damian continued his dangerous foray undercover.

This is the actual surveillance footage of Damian counting $180,000 to buy cocaine from a man who would kill him if he knew there was a camera. Damian had made it to the inner circle and was recording it all.

As an undercover, that is great evidence because, you know, counting out money...

For what other reason would we be counting out $180,000? And there was also conversations about the drugs that we were gonna purchase, the cocaine, how that was gonna work, how we drive the cars and so forth, so, you know, it's just great evidence that you just can't beat so, you know, you just make sure that as an undercover you're positioned in that camera lens and, you know, you can see the money and the conversation is about drugs. Basically, once the tape's delivered to the defence,

it rarely goes to trial because it's all there. You know, so may as well put your hand up and do your time. The man on the right of the couch is Ross Trimbole - a senior figure in the Griffith Mafia. He was the target of the biggest undercover operation

ever staged in Australia called 'Operation Afghan'. Damian was in place. Operation Afghan was commenced in 1993 and it was as a result of a question that was posed by the NCA at that time -

one, is there a Mafia? And two, to what extent are they involved in organised crime in Australia? MAN: Cheers! Happy birthday, Mickey. Thank you, thank you. MARRETT: Like most of the major criminal identities, Ross led that same lifestyle of throwing his money around. He would spend more money in one night out than a poor copper would earn in a month.

Mafia blood runs deep. Ross's uncle was Bob Trimbole, one of the men named in the Woodward Royal Commission

as ordering the murder of Donald Mackay. He carried on his uncle's business and was a senior Mafia figure in Griffith. At the time, we checked his tax statements and, you know, for an orange farmer he was earning $20,000 or $30,000 a year, and, you know, he could spend that in a month, easy. You know, he could spend 10 grand in a day if he wanted to. So he had a lot of money that was there to, sort of, move on and he lived that lifestyle. Whether it was drinking, whether it was cocaine, whether it was high-class prostitutes. Above Ross Trimbole was Tony Romeo. He married into the mob. These men were hardcore Mafia heavies.

Damian Marrett had muscled in and now was one of them. The Mafia of Griffith had no idea

just how close Damian was to bringing them down. Coming up - a lunch invitation Damian Marrett couldn't refuse.

And inside the biggest undercover operation ever staged in Australia.

One of these travellers might be doing something illegal. These guys? No. But everyone should respect local customs. The couple kissing? No. But in some countries it's not advisable.

The busker? His only crime is bad singing. No, this is the person at risk. Because photographing government buildings is illegal in many countries. Photo, no. Log on to Smartraveller for stuff your mates don't know, but we do.

(INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC)

at the Royal Military College Duntroon, you learn how to be a leader...

Because one day, that situation could become very real. Make your next move count.

COLIN FRIELS: After months of lies and deception, undercover cop Damian Marrett had managed to get on the inside of one of the country's biggest Mafia rings. Every minute of his day he was in constant danger. To survive, he had to live the life the Mafia did. (LAUGHS) MARRETT: On one of the occasions that we travelled to Griffith we knew a week ahead that the Italians were gonna put on a bit of a party for us. They'd mentioned that they were gonna get some girls for us, meaning prostitutes... ..and there was a large amount of cocaine at that party. You've gotta remember that we're portraying ourselves to be a certain type of person and not to go down that track would become quite obvious that something just wasn't right. If I had the choice I would have said no to going into a bedroom with this prostitute but after dealing with these...

..the Italians for the last three or four months, it was obvious that I had no reason

not to...to enjoy a prostitute and quite a good-looking girl, young, all the rest of it. So how do I then turn around and say no, you know? Am I gay? Is there some reason? Obviously I didn't portray myself as being gay. So I had to go through with it and I found it a bit unnerving

because if I decided to go out and pay for the services of one of these girls, fine, but it wasn't my decision. It was more that I had to do it because of the role that I was playing and I also knew it was another test that I had to pass

and I also knew that she would be asking certain questions along the way, you know, just checking up on my background for the Italians. Mmm. So, you know, even though I passed the test with flying colours...

..you know, and answered the questions and so forth, it was something that didn't sit well with me at the time but I still to this day can't see any other way of changing that situation. After months of doing the hard yards as one of Ross Trimbole and Tony Romeo's drug buyers, Damian thought he had their trust. But his cover was never totally safe. There was just something in the air up at Griffith that wasn't right. We didn't know exactly what it was. We'd received further intelligence from the NCA that somebody high up in the Italian group had been paying off a... ..a high-up tax official, a politician and a copper 100 grand a year for information.

Now, we didn't know whether that information may have leaked through about ourselves. And when an invitation to have lunch with some of the mob took a strange turn, Damian thought his cover may have been blown. We pull up at his farm house and he says, "Have you got anything on you?" And he frisked me.

I couldn't wear devices in that job anyway because we didn't have backup - backup was two hours away because people would see who's coming into the town and so forth. You know, I was unnerved. At this stage I didn't know what was going on and he says, "I wanna show you something." And we walked through the narrows of an orange grove and, you know, my brain was clicking over, "Am I in trouble here?" Automatically you think of the old Mafia movies, you know, "Here I go." We get to the end and he basically tells me to kneel down. I knelt down and in my mind I'm thinking, "Am I right or wrong? "One, I don't want to stuff up this job. We've all done too much work. "And two, if I am wrong, "I mean, what can I do anyway? "I'm not armed. "The minute I took off it's just a matter of pulling the trigger."

Basically he tells me to look into the bushes so I'm not only kneeling down, but I'm, sort of, crouching my head down and there was nothing there and that's when I thought, "This is where he's going to do it. "I'm gone." You hear all the stories about other people that have just disappeared, you know, in relation to this group. And he says, "In further." And I said, "Mate..." Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a garbage bag that was hidden in the bushes and it turned out that it was the cannabis that we'd ordered, 12 pound of cannabis. That's why he took me there but, you know, whether he wanted to see how I reacted, whether he wanted to show that he was in charge. Things could happen that easily. Whether he wanted to see whether... ..you know, black pyjama men jumped out of the bushes, who knows? But it did unsettle me but thank God it wasn't the way that I thought. Next, the mob takes cares of its own. Australia's biggest ecstasy bust puts Griffith back in the headlines. MAN: We don't know where he is buried... And one man's courage... ..although there are people alive today in this community who most certainly do. ..in the name of his father.

COLIN FRIELS: Undercover cop Damian Marrett had successfully infiltrated one of the country's biggest Calabrian Mafia rings headed up by Ross Trimbole... Hey, I wanna show you something. ..and Tony Romeo. After 18 months of intense planning... Hey, back in a minute. ..it was now time for Operation Afghan to strike. Right throughout the job we were setting up to purchase a tonne of cannabis coming from Papua New Guinea. So it was gonna be transferred from Papua New Guinea to Horn Island and then flown down to New South Wales,

to a small airport. (ENGINE STARTS) We hired a Cessna. We took Ross Trimbole and the pilot from New Guinea. This is the actual surveillance footage from the Cessna captured by a pin-sized camera the police had hidden in a gap in the plane's interior panels. Here you can see Damian greeting Ross Trimbole. This flight was a dummy run to see how much they could carry. We all went up just to make sure that we knew exactly how this was gonna work. We landed on Horn Island. We spoke about how quick we could load the cannabis into the plane, how much the plane could hold. Damian was dealing well with the intense pressure of being undercover but this plane trip would push him to the limit. Any friendliness that I had towards Trimbole... ..stopped on that aeroplane when the conversation was led onto the NCA bombing in Adelaide. (SIREN WAILS) It was still very raw to coppers that somebody had killed a copper, especially by a parcel bomb. When Ross started talking about the NCA,

it was very flippant and the way he spoke about what happened... ..his words were, "He messed with our family. "He was very hard on our family. "We had to do it. "Fuck him." Everything just stopped for me. I wanted to strangle this bloke and the hatred I had for him at that time I could not mask and I had to turn away, look out a window or whatever. He was talking about a decent copper

who had been killed simply for doing his job. But knowing what was at stake, Damian kept his cover. After a successful dummy run, they set off to Horn Island to pick up almost a tonne of cannabis. The police made the call.

NEWSREADER: The nationwide raids and arrests followed the interception of a light aircraft on Horn Island in northern Queensland, with 750kg of marijuana worth an estimated $6 million expected to be seized. It was not on the plane but police launched the nationwide raids, claiming the conspiracy was well-established over many months

with the recent seizures of cocaine and marijuana. 257 police raided 17 homes and businesses.

Tony Romeo was charged with conspiracy to traffic drugs

and conspiracy to import drugs. Ross Trimbole was charged with drug trafficking and conspiring to import drugs. They were each sentenced to 10 years jail. Six others got sentences of three or four years.

To arrest figures like Romeo, Trimbole and all the others, the soldiers,

the Italian soldiers on the streets of Griffith, was a huge thing for that town to see that happen. Tony Romeo was released from jail in May 2002 after serving just six years of his 10-year sentence. His release was not welcomed by all.

(GUNSHOT) (GRUNTS) Six weeks after Tony Romeo's release from jail, he was shot dead. In true Mafia style, no-one saw anything and no motive ever confirmed. in retaliation for an affair One theory is that it was that he was having with another Italian figure's wife. The second theory was that it was the embarrassment that he had brought on the families up there for accepting undercovers into the group and just general stuff that came out at trial and the third one was he had actually been giving information to police during his time in jail. As the older Mafia members disappeared, the new generation stepped up. LAMB: They're far more entrepreneurial, they're far more flamboyant, they spend their wealth visibly and perhaps that ultimately will make them vulnerable. NEWSREADER: Police had been waiting more than a year and this morning they swooped. On August 8, 2008,

the luck ran out for one massive syndicate alleged to have Griffith Mafia connections. 15 million pills with a street value of almost half a billion dollars,

carefully hidden inside tinned tomatoes shipped from Italy to Melbourne. Each of these pills cost 75 cents to manufacture in Europe. Here they wholesale for $14 and then sell on the street for over $30. This syndicate is alleged to be involved in something in the order of 60% of importations coming into south-east Australia. Next, 30 years on, Donald Mackay remembered. A township forever branded as a Mafia stronghold. We didn't realise that we still had such element in the community. And for Damian Marrett, a most unlikely ending. (INDUSTRIAL MUSIC) (ROCK MUSIC) Renew your skin with the Schick Quattro Titanium Freestyle. Four blades with titanium, an edging blade and a built-in trimmer to maintain your look. Take a look at Hungry Jack's new Stunner Choices. Try a Chicken Wrap Stunner Deal, with fries, coke and a sundae. Or choose a Whopper Junior Stunner Deal, from just $4.95 The burgers are better at Hungry Jack's.

NEWSREADER: Police had been waiting more than a year and this morning, they swooped. 15 million pills with a street value

of almost half a billion dollars

carefully hidden inside tinned tomatoes shipped from Italy to Melbourne. COLIN FRIELS: This recent ecstasy haul is a huge win for police in the fight against Mafia crime gangs. But definitely not a win for the people of Griffith.

I think that shook Griffith even more so than when Don disappeared. The fact that Griffith could be housing some of the principals in such a huge deal made people wake up and say, "Well, we didn't realise "that we still had such element in the community." MAN: We would like to thank the Griffith Rotary Club for proposing this memorial and seeing it through... On 10 October 2008,

31 years after the disappearance of Griffith furniture store owner Donald Mackay, he was honoured when this statue of him was unveiled. Our father was never given the opportunity to see his youngest child start school, the opportunity to see any of his children get married. He wasn't even allowed to rest in peace. We don't know where he is buried although there are people alive today in this community who most certainly do. In 1979, the Woodward Royal Commission named Francesco Sergi, Dominic Sergi, Antonio Sergi, Francesco Barbaro, Robert Trimbole and Antonio Sergi from the winery as the persons responsible for ordering the murder of our father. 31 years later, these individuals have still not faced any charges

in relation to this crime. Some might say they got away with murder. All bar one of them is still alive and I believe they all still live in our community. Yeah, that hurts. It hurts when I run into them just socially at various things and it's a little bit hard to take sometimes, yeah.

The Mafia activities based in Griffith

blackened the reputation of a whole town, particularly hundreds of families with Italian names. I believe that there's a group of criminals amongst a few families in Griffith. I don't think it's widespread throughout the community. Unfortunately those individuals do wield some influence within their community. The greatest tragedy, I think, is there are so many people with the same surnames as these people

and they...it's a great shame that they get tarred with a brush they shouldn't be tarred with. I think that's a tragedy.

Damian Marrett spent five days in the witness box helping to bust the Griffith Mafia. He has since left the force but the scars remain. Over the six years I knew that I was having... ..certain problems in certain areas

but it wasn't until I left the undercover squad that I realised I did have some pretty big issues, some carryover from all that time

whether it be paranoia, aloofness, secretive. I wanted to work by myself all the time.

Things like that... it took a fair while to get over that time in my life.

Damian has since gone on to become a successful author.