Police charge four with drug supply, firearms offences: Strike Force Wirrinda

Four men have been charged over the alleged supply of prohibited drugs on the state’s South Coast.

Officers attached to South Coast Police District established Strike Force Wirrinda in October 2021 to investigate the supply of prohibited drugs – namely cocaine and MDMA – in the Batemans Bay area.

Last month, police intercepted a package sent from Batemans Bay to a Queensland address, allegedly containing a quantity of a white powder believed to be cocaine, concealed in a children’s toy.

As part of ongoing inquiries, police stopped a vehicle on the Federal Highway, Wollogorang, on Tuesday 6 September 2022.

Officers located and seized more than 360g of MDMA, which they allege was bound for distribution on the South Coast.

Following further inquiries, police – with assistance from officers attached to South East and Monaro Region Enforcement Squads (RES) – executed four search warrants at homes in the Batemans Bay area, just before 8am yesterday (Wednesday 28 September 2022). Officers from the ACT Policing’s Drug and Organised Crime Team, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Canine and the National Operations Canine Centre also executed two search warrants in the Braddon and Mitchell areas.

During searches of the homes, police allegedly located and seized seven firearms, gel blasters, a replica handgun, ammunition, two poker machines, cannabis, about 1kg of tobacco, steroids, and a crystalised substance believed to be MDMA, as well as $1600 in cash. Police also seized a hydraulic pill press, gunpowder and prohibited laser pointer.

All items were seized for further forensic examination.

Four men were arrested during the search warrants.

A 24-year-old man was arrested at North Batemans Bay. He was taken to Batemans Bay Police Station where he was charged with 11 offences:

  • Supply prohibited drug (seven counts),
  • Take part supply prohibited drug,
  • Supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, and,
  • Possess unauthorised prohibited firearm,
  • Participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

A 45-year-old man was arrested at separate address at North Batemans Bay. He was taken to Batemans Bay Police Station where he was charged with five offences:

  • Possess unauthorised prohibited firearm,
  • Possess ammunition without holding licence/permit/authority,
  • Possess or use a prohibited weapon without permit (two counts), and
  • Possess gaming machine that is not approved.

Both men were granted conditional bail to appear before Batemans Bay Local Court on Monday 24 October 2022.

A 23-year-old man was arrested at Batemans Bay Police Station. He was charged with ten offences, including:

  • Manufacture prohibited drug greater than indictable quantity (not cannabis) – serious indictable offence,
  • Supply prohibited drug (five counts),
  • Supply prohibited drug – commercial quantity – serious indictable offence,
  • Supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis,
  • Participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, and,
  • Possess prohibited drug.

He was refused bail to appear in Batemans Bay Local Court today (Thursday 29 September 2022).

A 26-year-old man was arrested at a home in Braddon, ACT, on a NSW Police arrest warrant. The man, who is a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang, was extradited to Queanbeyan Police Station where he was charged with four offences, including:

  • Supply prohibited drug (two counts),
  • Supply prohibited drug – commercial quantity – serious indictable offence, and,
  • Knowingly/recklessly direct criminal group assist crime.

He was refused bail to appear in Queanbeyan Local Court today (Thursday 29 September 2022).

Investigations are ongoing into offences committed by the man in the ACT; furthers charges against him may be laid.

Crime Manager of South Coast Police District, Acting Inspector Ian Griffin, said yesterday’s results were the culmination of state and territory officers working together for a joint cause.

“This goes to show that we will use all resources available from both NSW and the ACT in order to disrupt and prevent crime,” Acting Insp Griffin.

“We will continue to work alongside ACT Policing to keep illicit substances off our streets, and our communities safe.”

ACT Policing Officer in Charge of Criminal Investigations, Detective Inspector Mark Steel, said this was a great outcome for both NSW Police Force and ACT Policing.

“We work very closely with all our interstate colleagues to disrupt cross-border criminal activity occurring in the ACT and surrounding region,” Det Insp Steel said.

“The success of this operation ultimately means there are less drugs and weapons on our streets and that can only be a good thing.”

Inquiries under Strike Force Wirrinda continue.

Anyone with information that could assist Strike Force Wirrinda investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

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