Detectives from the Clandestine Laboratory Squad seized drugs, and cash following the execution of a series of warrants across Victoria and Tasmania this week.
Warrants were executed on Tuesday (30 June) at residential, commercial and rural properties in Balwyn, Mont Albert, Point Cook, Truganina, Kerang, Bannerton and Robinvale as part of a five-month investigation into an alleged Malaysian drug manufacturing syndicate.
Police from the Crime Command Organised Crime Division were involved in the warrants, along with local police from a number of areas across metropolitan Melbourne, Mildura, Swan Hill and Seymour.
Assistance was also provided from Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police and Agriculture Victoria during the investigation.
Warrants were also executed yesterday in Hobart by Tasmania Police.
Six men were arrested and charged on Tuesday, 30 June in Victoria, including:
• A 36-year-old Balwyn man charged with traffick a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence;
• A 32-year-old Balwyn man charged with traffick a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence;
• A 32-year-old Bannerton man charged with traffick a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence;
• A 41-year-old Kerang man charged with traffick a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence;
• A 35-year-old Point Cook man charged charged with traffick a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence; and
• 28-year-old Bannerton man charged with possess material/equipment for manufacturing a drug of dependence.
All men have been remanded to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 4 November, with the exception of the 28-year-old Bannerton man who has been bailed to appear at Mildura Magistrates’ Court on 30 September.
Two women were also arrested in Tasmania yesterday (1 July), including a 35-year-old Kingston Beach woman who has been charged with traffick a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence and a 29-year-old Lindisfarne woman who has been charged with recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
The Kingston Beach woman has been remanded to appear at Hobart Magistrates’ Court on 2 July while the Lindisfarne woman has been bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on 24 November.
In total, 19 people have now been arrested during the course of the investigation.
During Tuesday’s warrants, police seized three tonnes of chemicals believed be pre-cursor chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.
Seven luxury cars were also seized.
During the investigation, police had previously seized 57kg of methylamphetamine as well as a significant quantity of cash.
Three large-scale clandestine laboratories were also dismantled.
Homicide Squad detectives are also looking at possible links to the drug syndicate as part of the ongoing investigation into the death of Shu Jian Lim, whose body was located at Cobbledicks Ford Reserve in Mt Cottrell on 17 September, 2015.
Detective Superintendent Jacqueline Curran said the warrants were the culmination of five months of committed investigation by the Clandestine Laboratory Squad and other units across Victoria Police, along with a number of external agencies.
“The arrest of 19 people over the course of the investigation and the seizure of significant amounts of illicit drugs and cash is an enormous win for the community,” she said.
“Drugs are a significant driver of crime and community harm across the state and are a strong focus for Victoria Police.
“Illicit Drug Labs pose significant health and safety risks to the community – many of the chemicals involved in drug manufacture are highly volatile, explosive or carcinogenic in nature.
“Residual contamination resulting from the manufacture of these illicit substances presents a serious risk to human and environmental health.
“These arrests and seizures will have a significant impact on the syndicate and the investigation remains ongoing.”
Police would also like to thank two members of the public who assisted in a foot pursuit of a person of interest who was arrested in Mont Albert yesterday.
Investigations remain ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au