More than 80 people charged during Christmas cocaine crackdown – Strike Force Northrop

More than 80 people have been charged and more than 350 grams of cocaine seized, following a targeted police operation by investigators from Redfern Region Enforcement Squad (RES), into the supply of illicit drugs across Sydney during the festive season.

In September 2017, detectives from Redfern RES established Strike Force Northrop to investigate and target the ongoing supply of cocaine within the Central Metropolitan Region.

In May 2019, strike force investigators arrested and charged 55 people during a targeted proactive operation into “Dial-a-Dealer” services operating throughout the Sydney’s CBD and eastern suburbs.

Last month, following extensive inquiries, seven people – four men and three women – were arrested and charged following information about the activities of a sophisticated organised criminal network involved in facilitating and directing the supply of prohibited drugs through a “Dial-a-Dealer” service.

Further investigations under Strike Force Northrop took place on six nights over three weeks in November and December, with assistance from the Dog Unit and Surry Hills, Sydney City, Kings Cross, Eastern Suburbs, Leichhardt, St George and Sutherland Shire Police Area Commands.

During the operation, officers seized more than 350 grams of cocaine, five grams of MDMA, five grams of cannabis and more than $69,500 cash.

Detectives charged 46 people with drug supply and charged 38 people with drug possession.

Significant events include;

  • About 4.30pm on Friday 29 November 2019, officers stopped and searched a Toyota Hilux at the intersection of Elizabeth Street and Martin Place, Sydney, locating more than 13 grams of cocaine and $1600 cash. The driver, a 25-year-old man, was arrested and charged with supply prohibited drug, supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), and deal with property proceeds of crime. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 8 January 2020. The 46-year-old male passenger, who attempted to run from the vehicle, was arrested and charged with drug possession. He was issued a Field Court Attendance Notice (FCAN) to appear at the same court on Thursday 30 January 2020.
  • About 6.45pm on Friday 29 November 2019, officers attempted to stop a vehicle on Hunter Street, Sydney. The driver, a 29-year-old man, allegedly drove his vehicle toward a plain-clothed Sergeant, crossing onto the wrong side of the road. Officers initiated a pursuit of the vehicle, which was stopped a short distance away on York Street. During a search of the vehicle, police located $2650 cash. The man was arrested and charged with supply prohibited drug, use offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention, police pursuit – not stop – drive recklessly, and deal with property proceeds of crime. He appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 30 November 2019, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Central Local Court on Friday 10 January 2020.
  • About 5pm on Saturday 30 November 2019, police stopped and searched a taxi on Lime Street, Barangaroo, locating two mobile phones, $3400 cash and more than 13 grams of cocaine in a hidden compartment. The 51-year-old male taxi driver was arrested and charged with supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), and deal with property proceeds of crime. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 8 January 2020.
  • About 7pm on Saturday 30 November 2019, officers stopped and searched a vehicle on Eloura Road, Cronulla, locating $2970 cash, four mobile phones, and more than 13 grams of cocaine concealed in an energy drink can. The driver, a 25-year-old man, and passenger, a 24-year-old pregnant woman, were arrested and taken to Sutherland Police Station. The pair were charged with supply prohibited drug, supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), and deal with property proceeds of crime. They were both granted strict conditional bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Thursday 9 January 2020.
  • About 9pm on Saturday 30 November 2019, officers stopped and searched a Kia Stinger at a petrol station on Bondi Road, Bondi, locating more than seven grams of cocaine and $1555 cash. The 23-year-old male driver was arrested and charged with supply prohibited drug, supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), and deal with property proceeds of crime. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court on Tuesday 21 January 2020.
  • Just before 5pm on Saturday 7 December 2019, police stopped and searched a VW Golf on Clovelly Road, Clovelly, locating $625 cash and a mobile phone. Officers also found cocaine hidden in the waistband of the male driver’s pants. The 31-year-old man was arrested and taken to Waverley Police Station, along with his dog which was restrained in the backseat of the car. The man was charged with supply prohibited drug, possess prohibited drug, and deal with property proceeds of crime. The dog was reunited with his owner a short time later and was not harmed during the incident.

Officers also attempted to speak with a 26-year-old man on Clovelly Road, who allegedly became aggressive and assaulted a plain-clothed male Senior Constable. A security guard, and three patrons from a nearby licensed premises, assisted in the arrest of the Irish National. The man was arrested and taken to Waverley Police Station where he was charged with possess prohibited drug, resist officer in execution of duty, and assault officer in execution of duty. Both men were granted strict conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court on Tuesday 14 January 2020.

  • Just after 10pm on Saturday 7 December 2019, police stopped and searched a Subaru Liberty at the intersection of Bondi Road and Denham Street, Bondi, locating $1855 cash and more than five grams of cocaine. The driver, a 24-year-old woman, and passenger, a 19-year-old man, were arrested and taken to Kings Cross Police Station. The pair were charged with two counts of supply prohibited drug, supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), and deal with property proceeds of crime. They were granted strict conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court on Wednesday 15 January 2019.

Redfern Region Enforcement Squad Commander, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Bell, said investigators charged 84 people during the operation, making it the largest number of arrests in one operational phase since the inception of Strike Force Northrop in 2017.

“NSW Police are disappointed that so many people continue to put their lives and the lives of others at risk by supplying prohibited drugs,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

“Officers were astounded by how brazen some of these alleged drug transactions have become, often taking place in highly-visible and crowded locations in Sydney’s CBD and surrounding suburbs.

“This operation once again shows that cocaine supply and possession is not limited to one specific group of people, with several individuals from well-regarded professions in the community among those now before the courts.

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the festive and holiday season sensibly and safely, but sadly there are some in the community that continue to ignore the warnings.

“Unfortunately, some of these people will now spend Christmas behind bars or are likely to start 2020 with a criminal record.

“Those who continue to flout the law should know that these operations will continue, and those involved will be charged and put before the courts,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

Since its inception in 2017, Strike Force Northrop investigators have charged 251 people with drug-related offences, including 160 for supply.

Over the past two years, investigators have seized more than 3.6kg of cocaine, 470 grams of MDMA, 167grams of cannabis and more than $980,000 cash.

Investigations under Strike Force Northrop are ongoing.

Anyone with information about the supply of prohibited drugs is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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