Alleged crime gang trio nabbed in Mackay
MACKAY Police have netted three members of an alleged sophisticated fraud syndicate that have been on the run for years and are wanted in six states and territories.
The three males are allegedly members of a crime gang operating out of Perth who police will allege have been travelling across Australia defrauding businesses by using credit card details purchased on the dark web.
Detective Inspector Brendan Smith said the accused trio, one of whom is a 17-year-old, were arrested in Mackay on Monday thanks to a tip off from a vigilant flight agency staff member.
First responders followed up the incident and later arrested the men at a motel.
"At this point they have been charged with about 14 different offences... we also have charged them with flying under false details, which is a Commonwealth offence," Det Insp Smith said.
"It's a clear strategy of theirs [police will allege] to travel around Australia, particularly rural Australia, and they seem to target shopping centres, supermarkets and young cashiers."
Det Insp Smith said the men were allegedly attempting to purchase a $3000 travel credit card and the staff member was tipped off by their unusual method of manually entering card details into the EFTPOS machine.
"They are relatively young people of African descent, which is an unusual ethnicity for Mackay and they thought 'something's not quite right here'," he said.
"We are calling on members of the public that may have had any dealings with people of clearly African, Sudanese descent in the last 24 hours to come forward."
Police believe the syndicate has 12 members and have been wanted for two years for crimes that have been allegedly committed in Queensland including in Townsville, Cairns and Mackay. They are also wanted in Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT, Tasmania, and Western Australia.
Det Insp Smith said Commonwealth agencies and other police jurisdictions have been contacted, and it will be up to police in those states to decide if the men will be extradited once they have been through Mackay courts.