Five charged over alleged baby formula syndicate

Baby formula on shelves. Image: AJP/Jarrod McMaugh
Baby formula on pharmacy shelves. Image: AJP/Jarrod McMaugh

Police have charged five people over their alleged roles in the coordinated theft of more than $1 million worth of baby formula across Sydney

Police have arrested a 31-year-old man in relation to an alleged syndicate that coordinated the theft of baby formula and vitamins across Sydney.

The Carlingford man was charged on Saturday and granted strict conditional bail to re-appear at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday 30 January 2019.

This is the fifth arrest by investigators, with a 53-year-old man arrested on 19 December 2018 and a 29-year-old woman arrested on 4 January 2019, both at Ryde Police Station.

Both were granted strict conditional bail and are due to appear at Burwood Local Court on 5 February 2019.

A 48-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man were also arrested regarding the investigation last year. They remain before the courts.

Police will allege in court that those charged were part of an organised syndicate receiving more than $1 million worth of stolen products, including baby formula and health supplements, which were then on-sold overseas.

In August 2018, strike force investigators searched two homes in Carlingford and seized 4,000 tins of baby formula, large quantities of vitamins, and Manuka honey—all of which are alleged to be stolen.

It is understood that the baby formula was sourced from supermarkets and pharmacies from across Sydney.

Officers also seized more than $215,000 cash from one of the properties, which is alleged to be the proceeds of crime.

Robbery and Serious Crime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Daniel Doherty, praised the work of strike force investigators.

“This has been a meticulous investigation, with detectives now putting five people before the courts and disrupting a well-coordinated theft syndicate,” Det Supt Doherty said.

“Police will continue to pursue those who seek to make a quick buck at the disadvantage of others and will always strive to stamp out unscrupulous activity.”

Investigations continue.

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  1. Quite apart from cases where police investigations may suspect illegal activities, can someone explain why the manufacturers don’t pro-actively supply the overseas market with product where it is obviously needed as a systematic ongoing export venture, instead of the crazy existing “middle-man/woman”arrangements of individuals obtaining milk formula in bulk piecemeal from a variety of sources, creating a retail shortage, and then individually sending the products overseas to satisfy the demand?

    • Andrew

      People don’t trust the supply chain. Buying direct from a trusted individual contact in country of origin is much more trustworthy than tur potentially dodgy and corrupt supply chains that exist over there.
      Or so I understand. I think the now ended Chinese import block may have contributed too.

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