Mobile phone store manager charged with drug syndicate ‘dial up a dealer’

According to court documents, Loeung activated thousands of SIM cards for the group under the fraudulently obtained identity information of more than two dozen customers. It is alleged that he received $50 per SIM card.

An undercover officer had conducted surveillance activity in the store and allegedly purchased SIM cards from the defendant, the prosecutor said. Loeung was “not directly involved in the sale of narcotics”, nor in any murder or attempted murder allegedly committed by the group. But he said his role allowed their alleged activities “to be carried out in the community”.

The manager of a mobile phone store has been charged with allegedly fraudulent use of SIM cards. Credit:New South Wales Police

Loeung’s lawyer, Caitlin Drabble, told Parramatta Local Court on Friday that her client had denied any association with the group and that there was “very little evidence” that he derived any benefit from the sales. She said her parents were willing to post $100,000 bail and offered strict bail conditions, including that Loeung would not see her brother, who owns the MobileTown store.

However, given the “substantial resources” of the criminal network, the prosecutor said Loeung posed a serious flight risk and noted that a senior Alameddine official managed to flee the country undetected.

This alleged member is Masood Zakaria, the herald confirmed. Zakaria has been on the run since mid-December, wanted for allegedly breaching a court restraining order imposed on him last year and for directing the activities of a criminal group. Police believe he is now likely somewhere in the Middle East.

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Magistrate Peter Feather denied bail, citing alleged criminal associations and the seriousness of the alleged offences, which carry penalties of up to 10 years.

In a statement, Detective Superintendent Grant Taylor, commander of the Crime Groups Squad, said most high-ranking members of the Alameddine network – except for those who fled the country – are behind bars in remand or subject to restraining orders.

Investigators have now turned their attention to those enabling serious organized crime and “dragging our way down the pyramid”, he said.