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Charges follow airport drug raid

Date: 27/11/2005
Words: 353
Source: SHD
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: News
Page: 20
AUSTRALIAN Federal Police say they have uncovered a sophisticated drug syndicate run out of Sydney Airport by three Qantas employees.

Two men appeared in court yesterday charged with supplying narcotics after raids on properties in Bexley and Canterbury on Friday. Police allegedly found more than 100 tablets, believed to be ecstasy, drug paraphernalia and about $20,000.

The men have been sacked by the airline.

Police said an investigation team had been monitoring the three men who worked together at the international terminal as baggage handlers and ramp operators since October.

Paul Richard Barnett, 23, of Bexley, faced Parramatta Bail Court yesterday charged with two counts of supplying an indictable quantity of a prohibited drug. Khaled Allouche, 35, of Canterbury, faced the same court on three charges of supplying a prohibited drug.

Police alleged on October 25 that Allouche supplied $300 worth of narcotics to Barnett outside the airport, who then made arrangements to supply them to a third Qantas worker, Michael Speechley.

Police said the men used their access to secure areas at the airport to remove items before customs inspections.

In a statement, Qantas said it sacked all three accused men "in association with a police drug investigation".

"The AFP has advised the airline that there is no evidence to suggest this alleged criminal activity involves Qantas operations in any way."

Police further alleged between November 15 and 19, Barnett received another amount of narcotics from Allouche.

Barnett then passed 100 tablets to Speechley in a rendezvous in a white Mercedes Benz in Bay Street, Brighton-le-Sands on Thursday.

Allouche's lawyer Stephen Hopper said his client was no longer working at the airport but "we will be taking that up with the Industrial Relations Commission in due course".

Barnett and Allouche were granted bail.

Barnett will appear in the Downing Centre Local Court on December 15. Allouche will face the same court on December 22. Police said Speechley had not been charged with drug supply offences, but was granted bail on other charges. He will face the Downing Centre Local Court on December 16.

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