16 arrested as state-wide drug supply network dismantled

The NSW Police Force has dismantled a state-wide drug supply syndicate in simultaneous warrants across Sydney’s south west and the state’s central west this morning.

In February 2019, detectives attached to Western Region established Strike Force Pinnacle to investigate an ongoing large-scale drug supply network operating from Wellington, NSW.

Early inquiries revealed the syndicate was sourcing prohibited drugs – mainly methylamphetamine (ice), but also MDMA and heroin – from Sydney, and distributing them to regional towns across NSW.

Subsequently, in January 2020, detectives attached to State Crime Command’s Drug & Firearms Squad established Strike Force Laverick to investigate the syndicate’s links in Sydney.

Earlier inquiries by Strike Force Pinnacle and Strike Force Laverick have resulted in 15 people being charged, a number of whom remain before the courts.

Prior to today’s search warrants, inquiries have also resulted in the seizure of approximately 14kg of methylamphetamine with an estimated street value of $10.5 million, 2.4kg of heroin, 80 litres of GHB, 5.4kg of cannabis leaf, 550g of cocaine, 74 MDMA pills, 21 firearms and more than $215,000 in cash.

About 6am today (Wednesday 27 May 2020) Strike Force Pinnacle detectives, with assistance of officers from across Western Region, the Dog Unit, Public Order & Riot Squad, PolAir, Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and the NSW Crime Commission executed search warrants at 10 properties in Wellington and Montefiores in the state’s central west.

Ten people were arrested, including seven men – a 44-year-old, a 34-year-old, 28-year-old, 29-year-old, 30-year-old, and two 37-year-olds – and three women – a 28-year-old, 23-year-old and 35-year-old.

Methylamphetamine, heroin, cannabis, large quantities of cash, three firearms, a taser, mobile phones, jewellery and seven motorbikes were also seized.

Simultaneously, Strike Force Laverick detectives assisted by the Bass Hill Regional Enforcement Squad (RES), Dog Unit, Chemical Operations team and PolAir executed search warrants at five properties in Bankstown, Bass Hill, Condell Park and two in Yagoona, in south western Sydney, where they arrested six men aged 53, 42, 39, 24 and two men aged 23.

Investigators located and seized ice, cannabis, cash, items and substances consistent with drug manufacture, a firearm and seven vehicles, including a taxi and a truck.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller was in Wellington today to oversee the culmination of the operation.

“Ice is such a destructive drug, it kills people and it tears families apart – and we know its devastation is particularly evident in our regional communities,” Commissioner Fuller said.

“My officers are on the frontline dealing with the effects of this drug and the violence it causes every single day, and today’s operation is an important milestone in our fight against it.

“That fight is multi-faceted, and includes various harm minimisation and early intervention strategies, as well as a strong focus on bringing suppliers to justice.

“The people who supply ice and other prohibited drugs to regional areas deal not only in drugs but in human misery, and as Commissioner, I will continue to ensure we keep up the fight against anyone who thinks they can profit from the destruction of other people’s lives.”

Western Region Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna, said today’s operation would make a real difference to dozens of communities across NSW.

“We will be alleging individuals in Wellington had supply links in Sydney, and distributed to the far corners of NSW, reaching towns such as Bourke, Coonamble and Walgett, in the state’s central north, and various remote Indigenous communities too,” Acting Assistant Commissioner McKenna said.

“These communities have had to put up with the serious crime that comes with this drug for long enough, and I thank them for their patience while we gathered the evidence we needed to.

“Our investigation has now completely smashed this syndicate, netting not just low level distributors, but the ‘kingpins’ at the top.

“This is more than just your average drug bust.”

Inquiries are continuing and more arrests are expected.

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