How the multi-million dollar crime empire of feared Melbourne kingpin George Marrogi was smashed
More than a dozen alleged members of feared prison crime boss George Marrogi’s gang have been busted after his girlfriend used a ‘hot’ phone during jailhouse calls to him inside.
On Friday, 15 alleged gangsters, including a woman, fronted the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after being arrested in raids across Melbourne
Another seven will appear in court next week, including Marrogi himself, while two others have already been dealt with.
George Marrogi, 33, was the mastermind of a $50 million drug deal from behind bars
Charity worker Antonietta Mannella has pleaded guilty to helping Marrogi run his business from jail.
Reporters chase alleged Marrogi clan member Jesse Clarke down the road after he appeared in court
The alleged crew are accused of helping Marrogi launder the dirty money for his multi-million dollar crime empire he operates from behind bars.
The alleged launderers went before the magistrate in single file, with some declaring their innocence as they faced a waiting media pack outside.
A 52-year-old Roxburgh Park man is the suspected head of Marrogi’s money laundering arm, the Herald Sun reported.
He has been charged with aa swag of offences, including dealing with money or property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of indictable crime greater than $10million
The police operation, codenamed ‘Steelers’, involved wide-ranging investigations into Marrogi’s activities.
Detectives allege those involved with the crime gang funneled drug money through property, companies and luxury vehicles.
It was reported police seized a $400,000 stolen Porsche, $20million in proceeds of crime, more than $2.2million in cash and almost 6kg of cocaine.
A woman (left) was among those alleged to have helped Marrogi run his criminal empire.
An alleged Marrogi cohort tells reporters the ‘truth’ will come out
Just days ago it was revealed Marrogi was still able to mastermind a $50 million drug trafficking operation while caged in one of Australia’s toughest jails.
He was aided in his drug business by ‘cleanskin’ girlfriend Antonietta Mannella, who pretended to be his lawyer to help him move a massive drug shipment.
It was the use of her phone, which was bugged with secret police listening devices, that unraveled the alleged crime operation that culminated in the police sting on Marrogi’s alleged minions.
Last year, Marrogi was sentenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria to a total of 32 years in jail over the cold-blooded public execution of a drug rival.
But jail hasn’t seemed to have stopped Marrogi from taunting police from within.
Marrogi was back before a judge last week after being caught in a scheme to traffic massive quantities of drugs.
The latest venture by the Notorious Crime Family syndicate has resulted in the jailing of a once law abiding charity worker, who now faces life in jail.
Mannella, 28, of Mickleham, has pleaded guilty to helping Marrogi run his business from Barwon.
The County Court of Victoria heard Mannella had been the best friend of his dead sister when she inexplicably hooked-up with the jailbird.
Until then, Mannella had lived a faultless life and had previously handed out food to the homeless on Melbourne’s streets for a charity established in memory of Marrogi’s sister Meshilin, who died from complications related to Covid-19.
The court heard Mannella and some of Marrogi’s cohorts attempted to move 800 liters of the drug Butanediol from South Australia to Victoria.
George Marrogi in happier times. He will spend most of his life behind bars
Antonietta Mannella pretended to be a lawyer to help George Marrogi attempt to deal drugs
Marrogi and Mannella have pleaded guilty to attempting to traffic a large commercial quantity of illicit drugs.
The $50 million plan had hinged on a brazen scheme that saw Mannella pose as Marrogi’s lawyer.
While all prisoner phone calls are monitored and recorded by Corrections Victoria, the pair banked on a well known exemption that allows unmonitored calls with legal personal, which are regarded as privileged.
In circumstances that were not explained, the court heard a phone used by a real lawyer representing Marrogi diverted to Mannella whenever the crook rang it.
Mannella would answer the phone by impersonating ‘Cassidy’ in a poor attempt to throw off prison snoops.
The pair would then speak in code as they went about organizing the movement of four 200-litre drums of Butanediol – the key ingredient in gamma hydroxybutyrate, or GHB.
The court heard Marrogi was able to convince a man who owed him cash to organize the shipment, which revolved around a 71-year-old truck driver driving the drums across the border into Melbourne.
The elderly driver was picked up by police as he drove into Horsham in Victoria’s west.
The mission had been doomed from the start.
The court heard Australian Federal Police had tapped Mannella’s phone and had listened to every conversation she had with the crime boss.
Marrogi and Mannella will be sentenced this month.
The 15 who appeared in court on Friday will return to court on April 23.