Almost 1,000 people arrested and $500m in drugs seized in police raids across Australia
More than 400 raids were carried out across the country involving police from all jurisdictions as part of the week-long Operation Vitreus, which targeted criminal drug syndicates.
Police stormed properties, homes and businesses – even uncovering drugs buried in bushland in Western Australia – as part of the joint national operation, seizing drugs with a street value estimated at $475m.
The raids netted 814kg of methamphetamine, 182kg of MDMA, thousands of plants from hydroponic crops and 185kg of cannabis.
In total, 990 people were arrested on 2,052 drug-related charges.
In Victoria, the operation – led by the major drug squad – resulted in 149 arrests, 361 drug-related charges, 87 search warrants executed, and the seizure of 19 firearms, 13 vehicles and about $475,000 in cash.
Victoria police seized methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, ketamine, MDMA, ecstasy, cannabis (both dried and plants) and 1,4-Butanediol, with a total combined value of more than $5.76m.
In Queensland, detectives uncovered a drug crop with a street value of more than $11.5m hidden on a remote property, but are yet to make an arrest.
The hydroponic drug crop comprising more than 2,200 cannabis plants was found in six huge greenhouses on a rural property at Gunalda, north of Gympie.
Each greenhouse was 80 metres long and 10 metres wide and contained 2,284 cannabis plants and about 7kg of dried cannabis.
Detectives also seized hydroponic equipment and drug utensils.
Police have celebrated the massive haul, but investigations remain ongoing, with no one found at the property during the raid.
Detectives also shut down a Queensland distribution ring believed to be delivering drugs through the postal system, seizing packages containing methamphetamine, MDMA, GHB, cannabis, cocaine, prescription drugs and steroids.
In Western Australia, police discovered almost 30kg of methamphetamine buried in bushland outside Perth, believed to be linked to outlaw motorcycle gangs.
In NSW, police busted a dial-a-dealer syndicate.
Detectives seized about 2kg of cocaine, about $168,470 in cash, 20 litres of suspected GBL, a revolver, eight vehicles, stolen registration plates and items consistent with the manufacture of drugs.
“Almost $50m worth of illicit drugs were seized in this country last week alone,” Victoria police’s detective acting superintendent Dan Ryan said.
“Whilst an incredible result, it aptly highlights the seemingly insatiable demand there is in Australia for illicit substances.
“Drug trafficking impacts us all – whether it be the associated crime in our local communities, or road trauma, family violence, homicides and shootings.”