Major drug syndicate dismantled in drug operation closure

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Queensland Police Service

Detectives from the Organised Crime Investigation Unit in partnership with staff from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission have charged four people during the closure of Operation Kedge.

Yesterday, police extradited a 24-year-old NSW man back to Queensland. He will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning with three other men arrested as a result of raids conducted on properties in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. All were charged with trafficking in dangerous drugs (ice) and being part of a criminal organisation under the current VLAD laws.

Operation Kedge commenced as a result of a drug investigation undertaken in 2014 by the Sunshine Coast District.

Operation Mike Tyras resulted in the arrest of 92 persons on over 200 drug related charges. It was identified during the course of Operation Mike Tyras that ice was coming from a Brisbane source.

As a result, Operation North Invoice commenced and four men who were allegedly controlling the distribution of drugs to the Sunshine Coast syndicate were charged.

In August 2015, a joint partnership involving the Organised Crime Investigation Unit and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission commenced.

Operation Kedge continued on from Operation North Invoice to target those responsible for the transportation of multi-kilogram amounts of ice, heroin and cocaine from interstate to Queensland for distribution.

During the investigation several drug seizures were made, including 6.3 kilograms of ice and one kilogram of heroin. “This was a sophisticated and well-disciplined syndicate which had operated over an extended period.

“The membership of the group demonstrates the level of criminality which we are able to target when we work in partnership with our law enforcement partners and highlights the fact that law enforcement does not stop until we locate the source of the drugs and the senior persons involved,” Detective Acting Superintendent Lance Vercoe of the Drug and Serious Crime Group said.

“The arrests yesterday have dismantled an established network of offenders transporting large quantities of dangerous drugs from interstate into Queensland for distribution and is a significant blow to organised crime,” he said.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Manager Queensland Operations Jason Hindmarsh said this investigation highlights the benefits of state and Commonwealth agencies working closely together to disrupt serious and organised crime.

“The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission shares information and intelligence with its law enforcement partners to strengthen Australia’s ability to respond to crime affecting our community. All of the activities undertaken by the agencies involved were linked to Operation Kedge.

“These results are significant; not only have we removed a large volume of illicit drugs from our streets, we have also shut down a sophisticated syndicate’s operations,” Mr Hindmarsh said.

Significantly during the course of investigating this syndicate the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission staff and Queensland Police Service investigators identified a network of related offenders involved in the systematic production of cannabis in purposely converted residential houses.

Operation North Genie resulted in the arrest of 47 persons on 177 charges surrounding the production and trafficking of cannabis. Over twenty dwellings were located that had been converted to produce hydroponically grown cannabis.

Police seized over $20 million worth of dangerous drugs and $900,000 cash during operation North Genie. This investigation also resulted in the detention of 23 unlawful non-citizens, which were referred to the Australian Border Force.

Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or 24hrs a day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.

For all non-urgent police reporting or general police inquiries contact Policelink on 131 444.