Police Swoop On Alleged High-Level Child Abduction Operation
Three men and one woman have been ordered to appear in court to face charges relating to a high level operation that kidnapped children in contravention of family law orders.
Over a two year investigation, the Australian Federal Police uncovered an "organised and well-resourced" group of people who abduct children on behalf of a parent.
"The actions of this group do not protect children," said AFP Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz.
"What it does is potentially endanger the safety and wellbeing of them."
The operation has safely located ten missing children, five of whom are believed to have been linked to this group.
It is alleged that not only did this group finance and aid in the abduction of children, but portrayed the fathers as child abusers on social media and in other public forums.
One man, a 64-year-old in Grafton, has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to defeat justice and one count of dealing with the proceeds of crime to the value of $100,000 or more. He faces up to 35 years in prison.
Another man, a 63-year-old from Grafton, is allegedly to be the co-organiser of efforts to assist two different women in abducting and hiding their children.
He is also alleged to actively portray the fathers on these children as child abusers on social media and other public forums, and is facing 24 years in prison.
An 83-year-old Townsville man was charged over his alleged involvement in the operation, and a prosecution notice was served to a 78-year-old Perth woman.
"We believe this group has sought assistance from other people -- some who may be unaware of their involvement in criminal activity -- so we are urging anyone with any knowledge about these activities to come forward to the AFP," said Platz.
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