A baby-faced Australian teenager with a private school education is facing life behind bars after he was snared in a major international sting for his alleged crime syndicate connections.
Apostle Broikos, 18, was arrested late last week as part of Operation Ironside, the Australian wing of Operation Trojan Shield, a radical international police operation targeting organised crime groups.
Operation Ironside has seen the arrest of more than 250 Australians, 95 of which were apprehended in South Australia.
The 18-year-old was denied bail when he appeared in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Thursday, June 10, despite his lawyer arguing the teenager was too young to be remanded in an adult jail, local media reports.
Broikos is charged with manufacturing and trafficking a controlled drug between January and August last year, as well as trafficking in a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug. According to local media, the 18-year-old had peddled the unspecified drug in Yamba, a locality just west of the Victoria's border.
He is one of the youngest people to be snared in the national operation and the youngest in the state of South Australia.
Broikos' co-accused are his uncle, Theodore Tasman Broikos, Comanchero Motorcycle Club boss Cain Robert Dalwood and alleged gang associate Mark James Press, who were also charged with trafficking in a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug.
If convicted, the 18-year-old is facing life in prison or a fine of AU$1 million (NZ$1.07 million).
In 2020, Broikos graduated from one of Adelaide's top private schools, St Ignatius College, according to local media. Photos on St Ignatius' social media show the teenager representing the school in several sporting teams.
He is next due to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on July 1. His lawyer is hoping Broikos will be granted bail.
Dalwood and Press are also charged with conspiracy to commit murder after authorities uncovered an alleged assassination plot involving a machine gun. The pair were allegedly involved in a hit against an Adelaide associate last year.
A loaded machine gun was later discovered by officers in nearby bushland in the Adelaide suburb of Rostrevor.
A key component of Trojan Horse was the use of AN0M, an application where gangsters would allegedly plan their criminal operations, including murder plots. However, the app was operated by the FBI - with agents able to monitor communications on the platform to glean crucial intel into major drug trafficking and money laundering enterprises and other criminal activity. Police had used criminal "influencers" to convince associates to use devices pre-loaded with AN0M, its users completely unaware authorities had access to their messages.
In a statement, South Australia Police confirmed 95 alleged offenders had been arrested and more than 600 kilograms of illicit drugs, 30 firearms and almost AU$2 million in cash seized under Operation Ironside. A number of murder plots across the state were also disrupted.
In New Zealand, 35 people were arrested, more than 900 charges were laid and $3.7 million in assets were seized as part of Operation Spyglass, the local counterpart to Australia's Operation Ironside under the international Trojan Shield sting.