Authorities have seized the “spectacular” million-dollar beachside property, country retreats, cars and horse racing assets of some of the men accused in one of the biggest drug importation and distribution networks in Australia’s history.
Benjamin Neil Pitt, 38, and Frank Samuel Farrugia, 37, have been charged over their alleged roles in the importation and distribution in Australia of 1.3 tonnes of ice and ecstasy between 2013 and 2014 cracked as part of a seven-year investigation dubbed Operation Millstream.
Benjamin Neil Pitt’s property at Terrigal has been frozen by the NSW Crime Commission.
Police allege that Mr Pitt was a ringleader of the syndicate. He was extradited from the United Arab Emirates in September after leaving Australia in 2015.
He has been charged over his role in three drug importations, allegedly importing tonnes of methamphetamines and MDMA worth hundreds of millions of dollars into Australia in shipping containers and via air freight.
He is also accused of dealing in the proceeds of crime as part of a criminal syndicate that earned $54 million and funded a lavish lifestyle of cars, jewellery and property.
The NSW Crime Commission sought restraining orders on Mr Pitt’s luxury six-bedroom house featuring beach and ocean views over Terrigal on the central coast.
Benjamin Neil Pitt’s property overlooking Terrigal Beach has had a caveat placed on its title by the NSW Crime Commission.
A caveat has been placed on the house that Mr Pitt and his family bought in March 2013 for $1.5 million, around the time that authorities allege that Mr Pitt was conspiring with other members of a syndicate to traffic in a commercial quantity of controlled drugs.
The house was marketed as a “showstopping masterpiece … offering spectacular panoramic ocean views and surrounded by exclusivity, this incredible property is like nothing you have ever seen before – generously spread out over three levels with designer finishes and unbelievable features at every turn.”
Benjamin Neil Pitt, right, is escorted through the arrivals hall at Sydney Airport after his extradition from Dubai.Credit:NSW Police
Six months after buying the property the Pitt family began extensive renovations, estimated to be worth $350,000 including a pool, spa and entertainment deck. It was most recently advertised for rent at $3000 a week in March.
Authorities are also seeking to freeze assets in Dubai, according to court documents lodged in the NSW Supreme Court.
Court documents reveal authorities have also seized 200 shares in Cream Enterprises, a company controlled by Mr Pitt. Mr Farrugia is a previous shareholder of the company. Police allege that Mr Pitt and Mr Farrugia had property and horse racing interests together and that Mr Farrugia worked at Mr Pitt’s electrical company.
Mr Farrugia was arrested in June 2020 at the five-star Sofitel Hotel at Darling Harbour and charged with drug supply, knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime and directing the activities of a criminal group.
Frank Samuel Farrugia has been charged and has restraining orders against his assets.
He is alleged to have supplied drugs to and received drugs from the syndicate.
The Crime Commission has placed caveats on Mr Farrugia’s assets including two neighbouring 2.5 acre Central Coast retreats in Wamberal, including a five-bedroom property that he bought in 2016 for $1.1 million and another three-bedroom property he bought in 2019 for $1.6 million.
It also seized shares in a series of private companies he controlled, including Milarn Rose Bloodstock, which controlled Mr Farrugia’s horse racing interests.
Milarn Rose’s prominent racers have included stakes in Sir Elton, which won $150,000 in its career, including a first place at Randwick in 2019, Chubbz, Deadly Shadowz, Bill ’n Ted and Head Spins.
A fleet of cars including late model RAM Laramie, retailing for about $70,000, a 2019 Audi were also seized.
The Crime Commission also seized two Queensland properties controlled by interests linked to Mr Farrugia, in Bowen and Collinsville.
One of Frank Samuel Farrugia’s two neighbouring properties in Wamberal, the subject of restraining orders by the Crime Commission.
The Crime Commission plans to examine both men and members of their families about their wealth.
The asset seizure matters of both men were mentioned briefly in court last week.
Mr Farrugia’s criminal matter returns to court on Monday.
A second property in Wamberal owned by Frank Samuel Farrugia is the subject of restraining orders.
Mr Pitt, whose criminal matter returns to court later in November, is yet to enter a plea. Bail has been formally refused.
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