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An Olympic result in international cooperation against crime.

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22 September 2000


An Olympic Result in International Cooperation against Crime

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, announced that the Australian Federal Police has today arrested two persons sought by United States authorities on charges relating to their alleged involvement in the importation of marijuana.

At approximately 11 am today, the Australian Federal Police apprehended Francisco Rios Balderrama and Armando Garcia Quiroz, both citizens of Mexico, in response to an urgent request received earlier this morning for their provisional arrest pending a formal extradition request from the United States.

The two suspects are alleged to be key figures in a major criminal organization which has been responsible for the importation of some 50 tonnes of marijuana into the United States since 1996.

The two men were apprehended by AFP officers while waiting to board an aircraft bound for Buenos Aires.

"The success of this operation highlights the abilities, effectiveness, and above all the commitment of Australian law enforcement authorities in terms of international cooperation", said Senator Vanstone.

"Such cooperation is a critical part of the Government’s strategy to tackle organised criminal activity, and particularly drug-related activities, at all levels - regionally, nationally and internationally."

"Given the seriousness of the offences for which the two persons are wanted in the US, the successful identification and arrest of these persons by Australian authorities is akin to taking the gold, silver and bronze medals in the fight against crime."

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