More than 50 kilograms of methamphetamine has been seized in three separate operations this week targeting international, interstate and suburban drug distribution networks.
The significant outcomes have been achieved through joint agency operations involving the Western Australia Police Force, the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and AUSTRAC.
Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said the seizures and arrests were powerful examples of what could be achieved when law enforcement agencies worked together.
“Methamphetamine has a devastating impact upon our community and our efforts are focused on disrupting the supply of this damaging drug into Western Australia,” Commissioner Dawson said.
At the Port of Dampier on Monday, officers seized 31 kilograms of methamphetamine and arrested three people.
The Joint Organised Crime Taskforce investigation into the alleged drug trafficking syndicate began in mid-2017.
Police allege the drugs were imported to the North West of the State via a bulk cargo carrier and brought ashore.
Three Bulgarian nationals, a 42-year-old woman, a 47-year-old man and a 39-year-old man have appeared in court charged with importation of a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug.
AFP State Manager, Commander Greg Harrigan said the operation was a positive result in targeting an organised crime syndicate that was taking active steps to avoid detection.
“These drugs had a potential street value in excess of $25 million and the capacity to cause incalculable misery in our community,” Commander Harrigan said.
ABF Regional Commander for WA, Rod O’Donnell, said the result highlighted the close and effective working relationship between state and federal law enforcement agencies.
“Australia has a vast coastline, but this operation proves that criminals are wrong if they think they can avoid detection by targeting remote ports outside of our capital cities,” Commander O’Donnell said.
AUSTRAC’s National Manager, Intelligence Dr John Moss, said as Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC facilitates the sharing of financial intelligence and information between government partners to support law enforcement investigations
At Perth Domestic Airport on Monday the Organised Crime Squad arrested a 32-year-old Sydney man in possession of 20 kilograms of methamphetamine.
The arrest was part of a WA Police Operation supported by the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force to stop illicit drugs entering or leaving WA.
It will be alleged the man flew from Sydney to Perth under a false name with the drugs concealed in his luggage.
The concealment was detected after the luggage was scanned by the WA Police Force Meth Truck.
The man appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court charged with possessing methamphetamine with intent to sell/supply.
At a residence in Armadale on Tuesday Organised Crime Squad officers targeting the distribution of illicit drugs in our suburbs executed a search warrant on the property.
Officers seized 527 grams of methamphetamine, two hand guns and more than $50,000 cash.
It will be alleged the drugs were found in hidden compartments throughout the house. A 41-year-old man and 24-year-old woman have been charged with serious drug and firearm offences.
Commissioner Dawson said no matter where methamphetamine dealers sit in the supply chain, they are not immune from the joint law enforcement activities underway in Western Australia.
“These arrests validate the effort we are putting in and the investment by government to stop this drug getting into our State.”
Charges as follows:
• 42-year-old Bulgarian man charged with one count of import commercial quantity of border controlled drug.
• 47-year-old Bulgarian man charged with one count of import commercial quantity of border controlled drug.
• 39-year-old Bulgarian man charged with one count of import commercial quantity of border controlled drug.
Perth Domestic Airport
• 32-year-old Sydney man charged with one count of possess methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply.
• 41-year-old Armadale man charged with one count each of possess with intent to sell or supply, possess unlawfully obtained property and two counts of aggravated possession of a firearm.
• 24-year-old Armadale woman charged with one count each of possess with intent to sell or supply, possess unlawfully obtained property and two counts of aggravated possession of a firearm.
All have appeared in court and are due to re-appear at later dates.