European reggae, hip hop promoter and elderly cronies arrested on big cocaine rap

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european-reggae-propmoter-andrew-mcmanus.jpgFifty-four-year-old Andrew McManus, promoter of the Ragamuffin Music Festival in Australia and New Zealand is among five persons arrested in Australia and the United States for alleged cocaine trafficking and money laundering.

The arrests took place Thursday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.McManus was arrested at Melbourne Airport.Others arrested in Australia are Craig Haeusler, described as a 'crime figure', solicitor Michael Croke and pastry shop owner Zeki Atilgan.

Owen Hanson Junior, an American businessman, was also arrested in San Diego, California.

According to the Herald, the investigation started with the discovery of a suitcase with AUS$700,000 cash at Sydney's Hilton Hotel in August 2011. The joint investigation involved the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, the NSW Organised Crime Squad and the Australian Crime Commission.

Police are expected to charge McManus with attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the funds.Croke, 65, and Haeusler, 55, were charged with similar offences Thursday.

McManus started the festival in 2008 with shows in the Australian cities of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. It was last held in Australia four years ago. New Zealand, which co-hosted the event since its inception, is the sole host now.

Some of the biggest names in reggae and hip hop have played the 'Raggamuffin' including Ziggy Marley, the Original Wailers, Sly and Robbie, Maxi Priest, Steel Pulse, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill.

Sly and Robbie and Inner Circle are scheduled for the 2016 show.