ACT News

Prison drug ring accused plead not guilty

Four alleged members of a drug ring that funnelled illicit substances and contraband into the ACT's jail have pleaded not guilty. 

The smuggling operation targeting the Alexander Maconochie Centre was carried out by convicted criminals and a Sydney-based drug cook, police said.

The group is accused of smuggling cannabis, methylamphetamine, and mobile phones into the jail.

The members are facing the ACT Magistrates Court, after police busted what they said was a syndicate, netting about $85,000 cash and 830 grams of drugs in the process.

A series of raids and a covert surveillance operation resulted in the arrests.

Five people were charged with serious criminal offences over the alleged syndicate, and each appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.

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Four alleged members of the group - Ryan Malec, 26, Bianca Rasic, 24, Anthony John Hagen, 55, and Menka Krsteska, 23 - pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

The alleged ringleader, Thor Kristiansen, 26, did not enter pleas, instead seeking an adjournment until next week.

Three members of the group will return to the ACT Magistrates Court in late February.

Krsteska was committed to the ACT Supreme Court to stand trial and will appear later this month.

Police are alleging Kristiansen and Hagen ran the network from behind bars and that a number of low-level smugglers and couriers were used.

A Chinese drug cook in Sydney was also allegedly involved. 

One prisoner is said to have boasted of bringing $20,000 worth of contraband into the prison in one shipment.

Police said raids on cells in the jail led them to cannabis, ice, and mobile phones.

There was also a raid on a home in Chapman, which allegedly uncovered ammunition, 250 grams of cannabis, and almost $80,000 cash.

One prisoner claimed to have sold phones for $1500 each in the prison, police said.

A Rebels bikie and Brothers4Life gang member are also allegedly linked to the operation.

Another three men - Adley Tsang, 41, Adnan Hamdoun, 27, and Tsun Hin Chan, 26 - are before the NSW courts on related drug charges.

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