Prominent Australian restaurant owner charged as cocaine ring shut down
Prominent Australian restaurant owner Daniel Milos has been charged while up to A$ 1million (NZ$1.1 million) worth of drugs and expensive cars have been seized in one of Queensland's biggest cocaine investigations.
But police won't confirm if Milos's Toowong restaurant Mariosarti in Brisbane was being used to launder proceeds from the alleged citywide cocaine supply operation.
Eleven homes and business at Brisbane and the Gold Coast were raided on Friday following the 14-month Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Queensland police investigation.
Five people, including 40-year-old Milos, were charged with 30 serious drug offences after cocaine was allegedly found at three properties.
But Superintendent Jon Wacker, of the drug and serious crime group, wouldn't say how much was seized on Friday.
"I won't comment on amounts," he said.
"There are still drugs being analysed."
Police wouldn't say if there was any link between their operation and the killing of Milos's brother Peter, who was allegedly bashed to death with a spirit level and hammer three years ago.
He was found face down at a Morningside property in May 2014 with 14 cuts and scratches to his head and parts of his skull shattered.
James Thomas Howell was charged with the murder but was found not guilty by a jury in February after several trials.
ACIC Queensland manager Charlie Carver said Friday's seizures and arrests were significant and would dent the profits of organised crime groups.
"Many criminals run so-called front-end shops and businesses which will appear from first blush to actually be legitimate," he told reporters.
"However, once you dig into the investigation and you look though what's actually happening you find the illegal activity which is then used to launder funds and also fund further illicit activities into the future.
"This form of money laundering is legitimising what they are trying to do."
Superintendent Wacker said searches were continuing and more charges are expected to be laid.
"We will be alleging that this was a sophisticated network that has been distributing drugs," he said.
It is understood Milos and four business associates will appear at Brisbane Magistrates Court on Saturday.