POLICE and security agencies still have no idea of the whereabouts of nine rocket launchers that fell into the hands of a murderer, a drug ring boss and, allegedly, a terrorist cell leader, after an army captain stole them from a NSW military ammunition store a decade ago.
''We are continuing to look for them and we haven't stopped in the last 10 years ever since we realised they had been stolen,'' the NSW Police commander of counter terrorism and special tactics, Peter Dein, said.
''Over the years, we have had a number of approaches from different people - I'm not going to say who they are - who claim to know where these rocket launchers are or claim to know who has possession of them. But nothing has developed into any concrete information.''
Shane Della-Vedova, a captain with the army explosive ordnance disposal team, now in jail until at least 2015, admitted to stealing 10 rocket launchers when he was charged in April 2007. Police have recovered only one.
Della-Vedova admitted at his trial, in 2008, that he had sold the launchers to a middle man code-named Harrington, who he knew was a criminal recently released from jail.
In late 2003, Harrington sold seven of the launchers for $12,000 to $15,000 to Taha Abdul-Rahman, who was acting as a middle man for the criminal Adnan Darwiche.
Darwiche planned to use one to attack the house of Ziad Razzak, who he was later convicted of murdering; one fell into the hands of Darwiche's brother Abdul, who apparently cut a deal with police to give it up.
The other five were sold to Mohamed Ali Elomar, the leader of the Sydney cell involved in the nation's largest terrorist plot, according to a police statement tendered in court during the 2007 trial of Abdul-Rahman.
Elomar is serving a minimum of 21 years in jail, but there was no mention of the launchers at his trial.
The 66-millimetre launchers were stolen with rockets containing warheads that detonate on impact and can penetrate 28 centimetres of steel plate or 75 centimetres of reinforced concrete.
The judge who dismissed Della-Vedova's 2009 appeal said the rockets ''would be devastating against standard or light-armoured passenger vehicles. A direct hit … would be likely to kill all occupants.''
Della-Vedova said at his trial he thought the launchers would end up in the hands of ''some cow cockie'', not terrorists.