Police crack down on Port Phillip drug crime

Police from St Kilda and South Melbourne continue to target and disrupt drug related crime in the local community, with more than 40 arrests made in just over three months.

Established in November 2020 and originally intended to run in six-week phases, Operation Spartan transitioned to an ongoing operation in March this year following strong early operational results and consultation with the local community around drug trafficking, drug use, anti-social behaviour, and thefts in the area.

Running across the Port Phillip Police Service Area, Operation Spartan is predominantly targeting street level drug dealers preying on vulnerable members of the St Kilda community, as well as other crimes frequently linked to funding a dependence on drugs, such as car thefts and burglaries.

As part of the ongoing operation, police are undertaking highly visible and targeted patrols in the community in an effort to detect and deter any offending.

On top of these patrols, police have also been focusing on other known offenders and persons of interest, executing warrants of apprehension and search warrants.

Operation Spartan includes local frontline police working alongside investigators from the Crime Investigation Unit, Divisional Response Unit, Proactive Policing Unit and Youth Resource Officers.

Since late March, police have made 42 arrests as part of Operation Spartan, with seven individuals remanded in custody. A total of 86 charges have been laid for offences such as trafficking a commercial quantity of drug, drug trafficking, cultivating a narcotic plant, possession of methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis, handling of stolen goods, possession of weapons including prohibited and controlled, committing indictable offences while on bail, shop theft, car theft, and a range of other offences.

On 14 July, officers executed a search warrant at a residential address in Port Melbourne, seizing 450 grams of cannabis, a small amount of methylamphetamine, a hunting knife, $430 cash, and a mobile phone. A 56-year-old male was arrested and charged with traffic and possession of methylamphetamine, possessing a trafficable quantity of cannabis, possession of a controlled weapon, dealing with property suspected as proceeds of crime and committing an indictable offence while on bail. A 47-year-old man was also arrested on the scene and charged with burglary, theft, and deception. Both males have been bailed to appear before the Melbourne Magistrate Court on 9 December 2021.

Operation Spartan complements the already existing Operation Trolli, which sees highly visible police patrols in place to detect and deter shop theft in the St Kilda area, and Operation Nighthawk, which forms part of the larger Birds of Prey operation focusing on vehicle crime.

If you need immediate police assistance always call Triple Zero (000) and report any suspicious behaviour to your local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Quotes attributed to Port Phillip Local Area Commander, Inspector Helen Chugg:

“Targeting those who profit from drug transactions at the expense of the community is a key focus of this operation and we are committed to zeroing in on the street level dealers who target some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

“We know drug use is responsible for violence on our streets, burglaries and thefts committed to support an addiction, drug-related road trauma, family violence and sexual assaults.”

“Since the inception of Operation Spartan, we have seen a decrease in associated crimes such as car and shop theft, assaults and anti-social behaviour once arrests are made and criminals are taken off the streets for a period of time.”

“Our focus remains on the drugs causing the most harm within our community and we will continue to have a highly visible presence in the Port Phillip PSA arresting and prosecuting drug dealers while also working with the community and our partners to ensure those suffering from addiction are connected to appropriate treatment and support services.”

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