Major operation targets drug trafficking in Far North Queensland

The Queensland Police Service, the Australian Border Force and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have closed the second phase of Operation Aymara seizing almost $3.7m worth of drugs, Queensland Police say.

As part of a multi-agency response under the umbrella of the North Queensland Joint Operations Group, Operation Aymara was focused on threats impacting north Queensland communities.

The operation commenced in relation to a drug trafficking and money laundering syndicate operating between Adelaide, South Australia and Cairns in January 2017.

As part of the joint agency operation, 34 people have been charged with 96 offences. Last Wednesday, search warrants were executed on various locations in South Australia by members of the AFP, the QPS Major and Organised Crime Squad (Far North), ABF and the South Australia Police Crime Gangs Task Force. These raids follow a series of warrants executed at various locations across Far North Queensland, including an Edmonton address on January 2.

Seven people have been charged with trafficking dangerous drugs (two charged for trafficking methylamphetamine, one for trafficking cocaine and four for trafficking cannabis) and three people charged with money laundering (Commonwealth offence).

During the operation, 3.722 kilograms of ice, more than a quarter of a kilogram of cocaine, more than a quarter of a kilogram of ecstasy, 3051 MDMA pills, 921 LSD tablets and 7.5kilograms of cannabis was seized. Steroids and illicitly diverted pharmaceutical medications were also seized during the operation.

Assets including motorbikes, cars, boats and houses were also restrained, believed to be assets derived from offences committed.

“We believe the drugs seized were worth approximately $1.123 million wholesale, which equates to a street value for the methylamphetamine alone between $1.8m and $3.7m. To remove this from the streets of Far North Queensland is exceptional and could not have been achieved without the assistance of our counterparts at the ABF, AFP and South Australia Police,” Detective Superintendent Glen Kachel of Queensland Police said.

AFP Cairns Office Manager, Superintendent Hall O’Meagher said this operation was a testament to the strong partnerships between the agencies involved in this operation.

“Law enforcement partnerships have always been a strength in combatting organised crime, and today’s outstanding result demonstrates that by combining forces we can have maximum impact in achieving our goal of policing for a safer Australia.”

ABF Superintendent Mandy Sinclair said the amount seized was significant for the region and would have a strong disruptive effect on the illegal drug supply.

“Our officers worked collaboratively with partner agencies to achieve this excellent result, and to target the threat posed by established organised crime syndicates from major Australian cities and overseas from extending their reach into Far North Queensland. We will continue to work together in gathering intelligence on criminal syndicates to disrupt organised crime in the region,” ABF Superintendent Mandy Sinclair said.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length.