Darren Steven Bragg and Michael James McPherson Wiki, Bio, Age, Family, Charged after allegedly trying to import 100kg of cocaine

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Darren Steven Bragg and Michael James McPherson Wiki – Biography

Baggage handlers Darren Steven Bragg, 61, and Michael James McPherson, 55, were arrested on the airport tarmac just minutes after allegedly unloading the drugs from Qantas Flight 64 from Johannesburg, South Africa. Bragg and McPherson, who worked for Jets Transport Express, a Qantas contractor, were allegedly told 100kg of cocaine would be in four blue bags and one orange. The drugs, which have a street value of $40 million, were allegedly hidden in a container in the cargo hold of the passenger plane. The importation was allegedly facilitated by Ahmed Haouchar, brother of feared gangster Bilal Haouchar, according to court documents. The arrests mark the end of a year-long investigation into an international drug operation.

For 12 months, AFP watched as the drugs syndicate allegedly used flight QF64 as a highway to import illegal substances from South Africa to Australia. The investigation codenamed ‘Operation Lucian’, began in October 2022 following a report from an airline of suspicious activity that occurred near the cargo area of a Sydney-bound flight in Johannesburg. A month later, investigators intercepted a text message exchange between Bragg and McPherson in which they discussed meeting David Peter Cain, 62. Cain was allegedly instrumental in coordinating with Bragg and McPherson to get the cocaine off the trail and into an associate of the drug syndicate leader. On Saturday, Bragg went to work at Sydney International Airport and waited for ground staff to unload suitcases from the 3:08 p.m. flight QF64.

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Age

Darren Steven Bragg, 61, and Michael James McPherson, 55, years old.

Investigation Report

Once the bags were unloaded, Bragg and McPherson allegedly located the drugs on pallet 91394 and towed them to Gate 6. The pair then loaded the five bags, each containing 20kg of cocaine, into a white van outside the cargo terminal, which was allegedly driven by Sydney’s 24-year-old Ziad El-Mustapha. The 24-year-old allegedly used Signal, an encrypted messaging app, to contact an unknown person known as ‘Batman’. Police swooped on the trio as they were about to leave and allegedly found a handwritten note containing the number ‘91394’ in Bragg’s pocket. After arresting Bragg, McPherson and El-Mustapha, AFP detectives set out to arrest Cain and Haouchar, according to court documents. Detectives used Bragg’s cell phone to send Cain two text messages at 5:12 p.m. ‘The driver was not at the fence when I returned. I have the suitcases in mine. That I have to do?’ the first message said. “Comrade going crazy,” said the second.

Cain allegedly attempted to call his “best friend” before driving to Bragg’s apartment block in Coogee, where he was arrested by Operation Lucian officers. The AFP executed four search warrants at homes in Coogee, Mascot and Hillsdale following Saturday’s arrests, seizing a small amount of drugs and several electronic devices. AFP Detective Superintendent Kristie Cressy said the AFP is committed to targeting and disrupting organized crime syndicates that undermine Australia’s security. “Serious transnational organized crime groups are actively trying to corrupt the people who work at our airports because their access to air operations is an active and efficient way to facilitate the importation of illicit drugs,” Superintendent Cressy said. ‘The AFP and its partners – including airport operators, airlines and service providers – treat these matters as a priority because of the harm they can cause to our communities and businesses.’ Superintendent Cressy added that as an alleged “facilitator” of the work, Haouchar had allegedly been in contact with international organized crime figures.

People with trusted access to an airport precinct are critical to the successful operation of Australia’s tourism and commercial sectors, but the AFP will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who abuse this trust by aiding and profiting from organized crime,” he said. Superintendent Cressy. “We will allege that the organizer of this importation was well organized and well resourced, while the men working with trusted individuals had the potential to assist in numerous criminal attempts if allowed to continue unchecked.” Bragg, McPherson and El-Mustapha were charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine and also possessing a commercial quantity of cocaine. Police charged Cain with conspiring to import a commercial quantity of cocaine. Haouchar was arrested at Rushcutter’s Bay later on Saturday evening and charged with possessing a commercial quantity of cocaine. All five men appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday, making no applications for bail. It’s believed Haouchar’s lawyer will make an application for bail on Monday at the Downing Centre Local Court. Bragg, McPherson, El-Mustapha and Cain will face court again on November 30.

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