The AFP’s new Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST) has been operating since February 2021, targeting offenders wanted for murder, drug trafficking, money laundering and serious fraud, and who attempt to evade justice by crossing borders.
Law enforcement cooperation
FAST cooperates with domestic and international law enforcement partners to help arrest and extradite offenders to Australia.
The team supports requests from other countries and agencies, like INTERPOL, to identify suspected fugitives who may have fled to Australia. Domestic cooperation can then help to identify which states and territories the fugitives are residing in.
As stated by AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw, “My message to offenders who have fled Australia, or are offshore and targeting Australians, is clear: You are within our reach and the AFP will be relentless in bringing you to justice.”
“We will be working closely with our international, Commonwealth and state and territory partners – leveraging the specialist capabilities, intelligence and operations of the AFP and our partners – to hunt down these serious criminals who are hiding here in Australia and those suspected Australian criminals who have fled offshore”.
This cooperation is facilitated by the AFP’s increasingly international presence, with personnel posted in 33 countries. The AFP states that 43 offshore fugitives wanted by Australian authorities will be targeted by FAST.
Alleged NZ fugitive apprehended by FAST
A wanted New Zealand national was arrested by FAST in central Victoria on 29 April 2021. He appeared in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 30 April.
It is alleged the man was facing multiple narcotic importation charges in New Zealand when he moved to a rural Victorian town in 2019. He has been remanded in custody and will now be subject to an extradition process. This is the first such operations conducted by FAST.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Nigel Ryan said “The arrest for the extradition process from Australia is a considerable result in securing an outcome for what New Zealand Police allege was a significant drug importation network operating within New Zealand”.
“There is no safe haven for foreign national criminals in Australia. The AFP, with our partner agencies, are relentless in ensuring those wanted for crimes face justice.”