Two full sets of Penfolds Grange valued at $400,000 each have reportedly been seized by Police as part of Operation Ironside which is being billed as the “Sting of the Century”.
The massive police operation, which began three years ago, has seen 224 people in up to 20 countries charged with various offences.
Police say charges relate to serious criminal matters including conspiracy to murder, large commercial trafficking of controlled drugs, firearms possession and money laundering.
The focus of police raids in South Australia has been the Comanchero Outlaw Motor Cycle Gang.
According to a report in The Advertiser, SA Police have seized 68 luxury vehicles including Mercedes and Lamborghinis as well as expensive watches and “a number of extensive wine collections including the two sets of Grange”.
The FBI were secretly behind an encrypted device called AN0M which was being monitored by Australian Federal Police in Canberra.
“Which criminals used to communicate and plan crimes – believing their messages were safe from police,” The Advertiser says.
“But it was the ultimate trojan horse and the AFP was reading the 25 million messages in real time.”
The Australian Federal Police say 3.7 tonnes of drugs, 104 weapons, $44,934,457 million in cash and assets expected to run into the millions of dollars have been seized under Operation Ironside since 2018.
The operation went into its overt phase this week when police raids began in Australia and other countries.
“Organised crime syndicates target Australia because, sadly, the drug market is so lucrative, Australians are among the world’s biggest drug takers,” AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw says.
Police say they also foiled 21 murder plots using intelligence from AN0M.
This included an alleged plot to murder a man by gunning him down with a machinegun on The Parade at Norwood.
If the two sets of Grange are truly complete – with the original ’51 – they would be worth more than $400,000 on recent auction form.
In December last year a Sydney wine lover paid $430,000 for a set of Grange.
The “incredibly rare” set of 64 bottles included all vintages of Grange from 1951 to 2015.
“A Penfolds Grange set is a wine collector’s ultimate dream,” Langton’s Head of Auctions Tamara Grischy said at the time.
“It has been estimated there are only around 30 complete Penfolds Grange sets in existence in the world, making them incredibly rare.”
The previous auction record was set in December 2019 when a set of Penfolds Grange sold for $372,800.
At the Barossa Wine Auction held in April an imperial of Penfolds Bin 95 Grange 2016 sold for $58,250 including buyer’s premium.
WBM has contacted South Australian Police seeking more information about the Grange seized in the raids.
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• File photo of Penfolds Grange used for illustration purposes only.