OPERA PARADE, Australia — A sting operation in Melbourne involving a group of men suspected of being drug traffickers was called off after it became clear the men were innocent, the Australian Federal Police said Wednesday.
The operation was part of Operation Swan and involved undercover officers posing as drug dealers in an apartment building in the suburb of St. John’s.
“A series of undercover officers met the men and asked them to stop, and in the process, the men complied,” the AFP said in a statement.
It was believed the operation was conducted in a residential area and did not involve any drugs.
After a brief but tense exchange, the operation ceased after one of the undercover officers asked the men to return to the apartment.
A “substantial number” of people who had attended the apartment were present and the men had been released, the AFP added.
Operation Swan was launched on March 3, and it involved more than 100 officers, including undercover police, undercover security officers, undercover police dogs, undercover intelligence officers and undercover agents.
More than 100 arrests have been made in the operation and more than 20 people have been charged, including two men charged with drug trafficking.
In the lead-up to the operation, police received a number of reports of drug trafficking activity in Melbourne.
Officers spent more than six weeks investigating the reports and found the men’s apartment was used as a drug market, but none of the drugs were found.
Police then conducted further searches of the premises and seized more than 1,300 kilograms of methamphetamine, more than 3,000 ecstasy pills and about $6 million in cash.
Drugs seized during the operation include a quantity of fentanyl that police believe was manufactured in Melbourne and sent to other parts of the country.