The Colombian army were forced to form a protective wall around police during the arrest of an accused Perth crime boss living a life of luxury in South America.
Moreed Noor, who police allege fled WA to avoid the grasp of authorities in 2019, now faces prosecution in his new home after he was charged with money laundering and proceeds of crime offences.
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His arrest was the result of a four-year investigation involving WA police, Australian federal authorities and the Office of the Colombian Attorney-General.
The flashpoint came on July 24 when police raided Noor’s lavish home in Medellin, the capital of the mountainous Antioquia province.
Australian Federal Police Commander Graeme Marshall highlighted the dangers of the operation, saying the Colombian Army “effectively formed a perimeter” to make sure officers “could not be targeted by drive-by shootings” or other sinister activity.
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“Colombia is a dangerous place. It is a very different environment to what we operate (in) here in Australia,” Marshall said.
“We are very grateful to the Colombians for their support and assistance in generating this result.”
WA Police allege the 36-year-old led significant criminal networks in Western Australia before leaving four years ago, and the belief was strong that the man would continue to do so from his new home.
AFP officers tracked his activities in the country from the moment he arrived before WA Police, the Serious Organised Crime Division and AFP Western Command travelled there to assist with the arrest of Noor and alleged members of his network last month.
Seven simultaneous raids were executed in Perth’s southern suburbs and in the Colombian cities of Medellin and Cartagena, with several of his family members based in South America also arrested and charged.
Moreed Noor faces prosecution in Colombia after he was charged with money laundering and proceeds of crime offences. Credit: WA Police
“We’re always aiming to take out the people higher up the food chain (more) than the low-level couriers,” WA Police Divisional Detective Superintendent John Hutchison said.
“In this case, we believe we have reached a pretty high person in the syndicate.”
More than $1 million worth of assets have been seized, but police concede that is a “very conservative” figure.
The possessions seized included $260,000 in cash, a four-storey home, an apartment, a speed boat and motorcycle, and several armoured vehicles.
Hutchison said Noor was “living a life of luxury” and had a massive mansion under construction.
Police said Noor was “living a life of luxury” and had a massive mansion under construction. Credit: WA PoliceA motorcycle was among the more than $1 million in assets seized by police. Credit: WA Police
“It will be alleged this individual was contributing to community harm on a large scale in Western Australia,” Hutchison said.
“He thought he could operate with impunity from outside Australia. You cannot run, and you cannot hide.”
While WA police have trumpeted the win, they are unlikely to seek an extradition.
Noor is not facing any charges in Australia, and that will only be considered “if there was enough evidence”.
The AFP has had members based in Colombia for more than two decades and has overseas bases in 33 countries.
Authorities said their investigation remains ongoing.
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