Sunday, June 8, 2008

Jailed cop linked to drug runner

June 8, 2008  Source

The AFP investigation into Mark Standen began in exactly the same month New Zealand authorities had intercepted his friend Anderson's cocaine shipment enroute to Australia from South America.

ACCUSED corrupt cop Mark Standen is now facing a second investigation - this time into his long friendship with a jailed drug runner suspected of a rape and murder.

Homicide detectives want to quiz Standen - placed behind bars this week for his alleged role in a $120 million global drug conspiracy - over his close relationship with underworld identity John Anderson.

Career criminal Anderson is also behind bars, awaiting sentence over an attempt to smuggle $7 million worth of cocaine into Australia.

Investigators from Manly police stumbled upon the NSW Crime Commission deputy's extraordinary connection to the 68-year-old crook three weeks before he himself was arrested by federal police.

Detectives were following a cold-case lead that Anderson was involved in the rape and murder of a Sydney teenager 30 years ago when their routine enquiry found Standen's son Matthew staying in the home of Anderson's estranged wife Susan.

Now NSW Police want access to Standen in jail to question him over any knowledge he had of Anderson's criminal activities.

Anderson was charged with trying to smuggle 27 kilograms of cocaine into Australia chained to the hulls of cargo ships including the infamous Tampa in 2006. His son Michael, 30, was spotted by police attempting to dive under the Tampa before he too was arrested. Michael Anderson is also awaiting sentencing.

Standen has been a close friend of Anderson for at least 30 years and was a regular visitor to his Central Coast home, The Sun-Herald has learned.

Former neighbours of John and Susan Anderson, by co-incidence, had also known the Standen family in Sydney years before. They told how they often saw Mark Standen at the Andersons' home.

"We saw Mark there a number of times but I didn't recognise him as a top policeman until I saw him on the news this week," said the neighbour, who was too scared to be identified.

Anderson and his wife Sue, who hosted lingerie parties, were members of the local gun club and keen divers. Their passion for diving was shared by Standen's 22-year-old son Matthew, who stayed with them. There is no suggestion Matthew had any knowledge of any criminal activity.

Matthew Standen refused to comment when approached at the Standen family home on the Central Coast, where his mother Lynn was being comforted by friends and relatives last week.

The family has been rocked by revelations that Standen, one of Australia's most senior law enforcers, had been accused of attempting to bring in 600 kilograms of pseudoephedrine, used to make the drug ice.

It is alleged the 51-year-old father of four had massive gambling debts and had set up the deal, uncovered by Dutch authorities, while on a luxury trip to Dubai with his mistress, Louise Baker. She works for the Independent Commission Against Corruption. but is not considered a suspect.

Standen has been in trouble in the past. Almost 30 years ago he was departmentally sanctioned for flushing marijuana down a toilet without reporting it had been seized. Yet this failed to slow his rise through the ranks of law enforcement.

The AFP investigation into Standen began in exactly the same month New Zealand authorities had intercepted his friend Anderson's cocaine shipment en route to Australia from South America.

Told of the revelations yesterday, NSW Police Minister David Campbell said he had not been made aware of the interest in Standen's links to Anderson. He said where and when detectives interviewed Standen was a matter for them.

A spokesman for Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione confirmed homicide Strike Force Keldie had been set up to investigate the murder of Trudie Adams who went missing in 1978.

Police sources say the strike force will be driven by cold case specialists and will be seeking to speak to Standen over his friendship with Anderson.

Anderson was among six suspects first identified during the mid-1990s by task force Loquat, which at the time also held hopes of discovering Ms Adams's remains in bushland on Pittwater Peninsula.

The teenager was last seen outside a Sunday night dance at Newport Surf Club in June 1978. Investigators formed the conclusion she was pack raped.

Following her murder nine girls came forward to report also having been raped by two armed men who had abducted them while hitchhiking along Barrenjoey Road over the previous 10 months.

Eight weeks after Ms Adams disappeared, so too did 18-year-old Michelle Pope and her 21-year-old boyfriend Stephen Lapthorne. None of the bodies has ever been found.

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