Drug syndicate dismantled in largest ever illicit drug investigation by Tasmania Police

A drug syndicate based in Queensland and impacting on the people of Tasmania has been dismantled, with Police yielding the largest ever volume of illicit drugs and cash seizures totalling over $5.5 million as part of a complex drug importation and trafficking investigation by Tasmania Police.

This is a separate operation to the three-year collaboration between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) targeting Australia’s mafia and outlaw motorcycle gangs announced today.

In total, six people have been charged for the serious offences of ‘Trafficking in a Controlled Substance’ relating to 3.86 kg of methylamphetamine (“Ice”), .7 kg of cocaine and ‘Dealing in the proceeds of Crime’ relating to $1.57 million cash. The drugs have a conservative street value in excess of $4 million. These matters are now before the court in Tasmania.

The results have come as a result of a significant investigation – Operation Carnegie – led by Tasmania Police’s Crime and Intelligence Command, which was launched in 2020 to further enhance the coordination of specialist resources to investigate crime at all levels across Tasmania.

The operation into the importation of illicit drugs into Tasmania was supported by existing relationships with the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and with the further support of Queensland Police.

Investigations have included the execution of a series of searches of vehicles and premises by police in both Queensland and Tasmania, which has resulted in arrests and seizures of drugs and cash.

“Crime is ever-changing and we need to change as an organisation to make sure we are in the best possible position to keep Tasmania safe. The establishment of the Crime and Intelligence Command, and the outcomes of this investigation demonstrate the strong and committed working relationships between jurisdictions and partner agencies to target the threat of organised crime syndicates and the impact of illicit drugs in our communities.

“Criminals involved in the manufacture and distribution of drugs in Tasmania should take notice. We will identify you, we will investigate you and we will prosecute you for the importation and distribution of illicit drugs into Tasmania.”

AFP Assistant Commissioner Bruce Giles said this was another example of the strength of the AFP’s partnerships with state and territory police and other partners across Australia to protect the Australian community.

“Working together we have been able to achieve a historic moment and prevent further harm to the Tasmanian community,” AFP Assistant Commissioner Giles said.

“The message is clear, no matter where you are, if you are trafficking and distributing illicit drugs in Tasmania or elsewhere in Australia, we will utilise our law enforcement partnerships across Australia and we are coming for you. We will continue to target those who exploit cross border transport whether that is by air or sea to prevent harm to all Australians by those who seek to profit from the misery they inflict on vulnerable Australians.”

Assistant Commissioner Katherine Innes from the Queensland Police Crime and Intelligence Command said the success of this operation comes down to the highly skilled law enforcement officers and detectives sharing information and strategies capable of working across state boundaries.

“I’d like to acknowledge the hard work, professionalism and dedication displayed by every officer involved in Operation Carnegie. Your commitment to dismantling these drug syndicates makes a difference and makes the community safer.

“We will continue sharing our expertise and working collaboratively with our national and interstate counterparts to ensure the successful disruption of these criminal networks.”

“This has been a significantly complex drug investigation for Tasmania Police,” Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Higgins said.

“This investigation has resulted in the arrest of six people, the detection of drugs worth more than $4 million, proceeds of crime totalling $1.57 million and has disrupted a significant drug syndicate operating between Tasmania and Queensland.

“Illicit drugs have a damaging and broad impact on our community, particularly in relation to health, law and order. Police and other law enforcement agencies work tirelessly to target the supply of illicit drugs to our community and this latest operation is an example of this coordinated effort.

Members of the community are encouraged to report suspicious activity in relation to criminals involved in the distribution of drugs in our community to Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000 or report online at crimestopperstas.com.au.

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