$100 Million Gambling Spree Ends in Record Cocaine Bust

A huge drugs bust follows a $100 million gambling spree

A $100 million gambling spree at Star Casino in Sydney led police to a record cocaine bust. A series of arrest prevented three tons of cocaine, worth $900 million, from landing on Australian shores.

Police arrested Mende Rajkoski, 42, on June 3 in relation to the alleged plot. Star Sydney’s security staff observed Rajkoski laundering money through the casino’s pokies early last year. Security staff tipped off the police after Rajkoski gambled $100 million in one week. Police forensically analysed Rajkoski’s financial records before pouncing and making a trio of arrests.

NSW Police provided information to the U.S. Navy in October 2020. The U.S. Navy intercepted two fast boats off the coast of Colombia heading towards the Pacific Ocean and seized 870 kilograms of pure cocaine.

The U.S. Coast Guard captured an additional 900 kilograms off the coast of Ecuador in April 2021. Those seizures were part of a conspiracy to import three tonnes of the drug into Australia.

Australian Police Dupe $100 Million Gambler

Australian police duped Rajkoski into believing he was collecting millions of dollars worth of cocaine. However, using a photograph taken during the April raid, the NSW Police created a replica of the haul before placing it in a storage facility. Police swooped on the $100 million gambler as he collected his fake drugs.

Authorities arrested Nikolao Misa, 37, and Gjelosh Nikolajj, 58, shortly after apprehending Rajkoski.

An investigation revealed Misa is the director of security firm Shield Venue Security. Both Misa and Rajkoski worked for aviation services at Sydney Airport. NSW Police know Nikolajj because as he was out on parole after being imprisoned in 2006 for narcotics importation offences.

Intelligence linked Rajkoski and Misa to possible drug importation activity in 2018 but only realised their involvement together following an operation a year later.

Police officers took Rajkoski and Misa to Toronto police station and charged both parties. Rajkoski is on the hook for a number of offences, including conspiracy to supply a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and participating in a criminal group. Police charge Misa with large commercial drug supply.

The Newcastle Local Court refused bail to both men. They return to court on June 18.

Nikolajj looks set for another long stint behind bars. His charges include two counts of conspiracy to supply a large quantity of a prohibited drug and two counts of large commercial drug supply.

A Year’s Worth of Drugs For Sydney

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith told the press the overall cocaine haul represented a year’s supply for all of NSW. Furthermore, it is the largest-ever intercept of cocaine bound for Australia. Smith is delighted to see his sting operation yield results.

“Prior to the arrests yesterday, this syndicate were in the throes of breaking the 900 kilograms of replaced drug into the streets of Sydney, and it would have been achieved that quickly. The farmers in Colombia get about two bucks per day. The cartels are making $3.80 a gram and, by the time it’s gone through an international syndicate’s hands and hit the streets of Sydney, it’s worth $400 a gram.”

The sting operation was only possible thanks to the quick thinking of the Star Sydney casino staff. The whole debacle shows how important it is for casinos to prevent money laundering, especially on this scale.

One reason Crown Resorts did not receive a gaming licence for its Barangaroo complex was its link to organised crime. Crown has links to “The Company,” otherwise known as Sam Gor. Police believe The Company is behind up to 70% of all illegal drugs imported into Australia over the past 20-years.