Matthew Benns | November 30, 2008
A CAREER criminal and long-time friend of former NSW Crime Commission assistant director Mark Standen was last week jailed for 18 years for drug smuggling.
John Anderson, 68, had been found guilty for his part in attempting to smuggle more than $11 million in cocaine into Australia inside watertight containers chained to the hulls of cargo ships, including the Tampa.
Anderson's son Michael, 30, was jailed for 10 years for helping his father by buying scuba gear and diving under the cargo vessels to retrieve the drugs.
In the District Court last week judge Leonie Flannery said John Anderson was motivated "by greed, whereas I accept his son's motivation was misguided loyalty".
She said Michael, who had no previous criminal record, believed his father was attempting to smuggle emeralds and had agreed to help in the hope it would draw them closer together.
Earlier this year The Sun-Herald revealed the long friendship between John Anderson and top cop Standen, who is now awaiting trial for his alleged part in an unrelated, $120 million global drug conspiracy.
Their 30-year friendship involved regular visits by Standen to Anderson's Central Coast home. Standen's bail application is due on Wednesday before a committal date is due to be set on December 17. Australian Federal Police officers are currently preparing a brief from material obtained overseas.
The AFP investigation into Standen began in the same month that customs officers in New Zealand intercepted Anderson's cocaine shipment from Central America.
Anderson attempted to ship more than $8 million in cocaine in a sealed container chained to the hull of the Tampa and more than $3 million in cocaine chained under the cargo ship Taronga.
In her summary of the facts Judge Flannery said police had traced calls made by Anderson to a contact in Panama.
A search of his properties found plastic containers, similar to the ones used in the failed smuggling operation, containing traces of cocaine.
She was convinced the smuggling operation was not "just a one-off". Judge Flannery added: "I am satisfied there was a level of sophistication at the Panama end."
Before sentencing him she said Anderson had a long criminal history. But The Sun-Herald has revealed that he has also been quizzed by police over a number of unsolved crimes. There is no suggestion that Standen was involved in these events.
Anderson, who suffers from a series of ailments including hepatitis C, has been questioned over the murder of 18-year-old Trudie Adams on the northern beaches in 1978. Her death has been linked to a string of rapes around the same time.
Police insiders have described links to Anderson as "an underworld mosaic" with the other man suspected of Adams's murder being linked to the 1991 execution of former Australian light-heavyweight boxer and heroin dealer Roy Thurgar.
Anderson was also the last person to see Ante Yelavich alive. He was murdered in 1985.
Source: The Sun-Herald