Qld Plays Leading Role In $90 Million Drug Bust
Image Credit: QPS
The Queensland Police Service has led a major multi-agency investigation into an international organised crime syndicate linked to the distribution of large quantities of high purity drugs.
Following a complex investigation police have seized 766kg of MDMA powder in one of Queensland and Australia’s most significant drug seizures. As part of this operation and as a result of cross-agency international collaboration, 200kg of methamphetamine (ice) was also seized by police in New Zealand last week.
Image Credit: QPS
On Tuesday, police conducted searches in Loganlea and in northern New South Wales with assistance from the New South Wales Police Force Drug and Firearm Squad. These warrants form part of the broader investigation into the international organised crime syndicate and resulted in the seizure of a number of vehicles connected to the operation, approximately $108,000 in cash and a quantity of drugs.
As part of this operation a number of persons have been arrested in Queensland and New Zealand. In Queensland two UK citizens, a 51-year-old man and 40-year-old man, have been charged with drug possession and drug supply and are in custody. A 26-year-old Logan based man has been charged with possession and supply of dangerous drugs whilst being a participant in a criminal organisation under the Queensland Serious and Organised Crime Legislation.
Image Credit: QPS
New Zealand police additionally charged a 60-year-old man and a 49-year-old man, both UK citizens, with charges relating to the seizure of 200kg of methamphetamine. A 51-year-old woman was arrested at Lennox Head and has been charged in New South Wales in connection with the money located.
The QPS State Crime Command Drug and Serious Crime Group has issued an arrest warrant for a 42-year-old man from New South Wales in connection to this investigation.
The MDMA powder is the highest purity recorded in Queensland. Police believe the powder was destined for production into pill and capsule form to be sold across Australia.
Image Credit: QPS
“We believe the drug would have been diluted with other agents and had the potential to make between six and 12 million capsules. This has a conservative value of $90 million. Organised crime syndicates are making significant profit at the expense of our Australian community but more importantly they are placing our young people’s health at risk,” Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker of the State Crime Command’s Drug and Serious Crime Group said
“This operation has been focused on targeting and dismantling this organised syndicate and is a culmination of the cooperative efforts of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, New South Wales Police Force, Australian Federal Police, New Zealand Police National Organised Crime Group, Australian Border Force, the Department of Home Affairs Intelligence Division and the UK National Crime Agency.”
Acting Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) State Manager Queensland Operations Dr Katie Willis said this investigation is just another example of ACIC working with partner agencies to ensure harmful drugs don’t make their way into the community.
“According to our latest National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program data, it is estimated over 1.1 tonnes of MDMA is consumed nationally each year, 223kg in Queensland alone. Removing 766kg of MDMA before it reaches our streets will have an immeasurable impact on the illicit MDMA market,” Dr Willis said.
AFP Commander Jamie Strauss, State Manager Queensland, said the AFP is committed to working with partner agencies to combat the scourge of organised crime.
“Law enforcement cannot go it alone to combat organised crime – we get our best results when we work together and use our varied resources and skills to target criminal groups. The AFP will always work with partner agencies to bring to account those who seek to profit off the misery that drug trafficking inflicts on the community,” he said.
For free and confidential advice on alcohol and other drug treatment services, call the national alcohol and other drug hotline on 1800 250 015.
Police Minister Mark Ryan congratulated the Queensland Police Service for its lead role in a major multi-agency investigation into an international organised crime syndicate linked to the distribution of large quantities of high purity drugs.
The Minister said it was a complex investigation that led to police seizing 766kg of MDMA powder in one of Queensland’s and Australia’s most significant drug seizures.
“I have been informed the MDMA powder is the highest purity recorded in Queensland.
“I am advised that police believe the powder was destined for production into pill and capsule form to be sold across Australia.
“This is the Queensland Police Service at its best, protecting the public from potentially lethal substances and keeping the community safe.
“Police believe the drug would have been diluted with other agents and had the potential to make between six and 12 million capsules.
“It’s estimated the seizure had a conservative value of $90 million.
“Police have made a number of arrests and I am informed that members of the syndicate face Queensland’s serious and organised crime mandatory sentencing laws.
“It demonstrates once again that the Palaszczuk Government’s strong laws are backing the exemplary work of Queensland’s world class police service.
“Queensland Police led the operation which included the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, New South Wales Police Force, Australian Federal Police, New Zealand Police National Organised Crime Group, Australian Border Force, the Department of Home Affairs Intelligence Division and the UK National Crime Agency.
“On behalf of all Queenslanders I offer my heartfelt thanks to the outstanding members of the Queensland Police Service who relentlessly track down those who would do harm to our community,” Minister Ryan said.