Gym owner denies drug charge

Alan Saric has started up a new Boxing Gym at Old Dennington Coolrooms, named West Side Boxing. 101102DW30 Picture DAMIAN WHITE
Alan Saric has started up a new Boxing Gym at Old Dennington Coolrooms, named West Side Boxing. 101102DW30 Picture DAMIAN WHITE
Alan Saric has started up a new Boxing Gym at Old Dennington Coolrooms, named West Side Boxing. 101102DW33 Picture DAMIAN WHITE

Alan Saric has started up a new Boxing Gym at Old Dennington Coolrooms, named West Side Boxing. 101102DW33 Picture DAMIAN WHITE

Alan Saric has started up a new Boxing Gym at Old Dennington Coolrooms, named West Side Boxing. 101102DW31 Picture DAMIAN WHITE

Alan Saric has started up a new Boxing Gym at Old Dennington Coolrooms, named West Side Boxing. 101102DW31 Picture DAMIAN WHITE

The man behind Warrnambool's new gym claims all offences he was charged with in relation to the world's largest ecstasy haul have been dropped.

Alan Saric, 36, said he was charged by Australian Federal Police with various offences after 4.4 tonnes of ecstasy with a street value of $440 million was seized in August 2008.

He said he knew and associated with some of the people alleged involved in the drug ring and that was how he got swept up in an AFP net.

"I was charged but those charges have been dropped," Saric said yesterday after persistent rumours have circulated about his criminal involvement.

An AFP spokeswoman yesterday declined to provide information about Saric's case due to privacy provisions.

However, Saric is listed to appear in the Melbourne County Court at 9am on February 10 next year charged with one count of trafficking a commercial quantity of ecstasy.

Saric said he justed wanted to get young people off the streets.

"I've done a lot of boxing, I associate with some of the people involved and I'm related to some of them.

"I talk to them over the phone and that's how I got caught up in it (the drug bust), through telephone intercepts - I'm completely innocent," he said.

"I'm trying to give it a go. A lot pf people think I've done something wrong because they read it in the paper or on the internet, but it's not right.

"I've done nothing wrong. I've got paperwork that shows that I'm not even charged," he said.

Saric said he had no criminal association with anyone involved in the drug bust and the only time he had ever appeared in a court was on a drink driving charge.

He opened his new gym at the old Warrnambool Cool Stores in Drummond Street, Dennington, last Saturday with the help of long-time friends and boxing champions Lester Ellis and Graeme Brooke.

"The opening showed I can get famous people here and all I want to try and do is get kids off the street and involved in sport, to just help people out," he said.

"I don't want to pinch anyone else's boys. It's about starting a new gym and helping out the community."

Saric said he grew up in Mortlake and moved to Melbourne to do and painting and decorating apprenticeship.

He returned to Warrnambool about five years ago and is working at Warrnambool's Southwest Healthcare construction site.

He said he had 18 amateurs bouts for 16 wins and won seven of his nine professional fights.

Saric said he took out the Victorian golden gloves lightweight title in 1997 and the Australian junior welterweight crown in 2000 before losing the Pan Pacific title to Chris Noble.

Saric said he had known and trained with Ellis for many years and he planned to bring former world champion Jeff Fenech to Warrnambool early next year to promote his gym.

"Boxing lessons starts at the gym on Monday from 5.30pm until 7.30pm, Monday to Thursday, with another session between 9am and noon on Sundays," he said.

Twenty people across Australia were arrested in police raids associated with the drug bust. It is understood the cases have not yet gone to court.

During a joint 12-month investigation by the AFP and Customs, 3000 tomato tins were found to contain 15 million ecstasy tablets when they were shipped from Italy to Melbourne in June 2007.

AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty said at the time of the arrests the investigation involved cooperation with European police where search warrants were executed in Belgium and the Netherlands.

"This is part of a global international syndicate," Mr Keelty alleged while revealing it was the largest investigation ever undertaken by the AFP.

Prosecutor Brent Young previously asked court for extra time to prepare the case which involved 187,000 telephone call intercepts and 3600 hours of transcripts.