Police arrested 10 people yesterday and seized drugs and firearms as part of Operation Polaroid, an investigation into an organised drug syndicate operating across Victoria.
The Drug Taskforce, along with detectives from Crime Command and local Divisional Response Units, executed 20 search warrants from 5am across Melbourne.
These suburbs included Bundoora, Richmond, Collingwood, Sunshine, Maribyrnong, Newport, Ascot Vale, Lalor and Keysborough.
As a result, 10 men were arrested with assistance from members of the Special Operations Group including:
• a 27-year-old Bundoora man;
• a 27-year-old Richmond man;
• a 26-year-old Collingwood man;
• a 20-year-old Richmond man;
• a 23-year-old Maribyrnong man;
• a 24-year-old Lalor man;
• a 24-year-old Sunshine man;
• a 24-year-old Newport man;
• a 28-year-old Richmond man; and a
• a 21-year-old Lalor man.
All 10 have been charged with trafficking a large commercial quantity of drugs, with a number of those arrested also charged with firearm related offences.
All 10 will appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today.
A number of items were also seized during the course of the investigation, including:
• Approximately 4kg methylamphetamine;
• Approximately 2.5kg heroin;
• Traffickable amounts of cocaine and MDMA;
• A hydroponic set-up with 100 cannabis plants;
• Two pill presses;
• 14 handguns and ammunition;
• An SKS assault rifle and ammunition;
• Two samurai swords; and
• A significant quantity of cash.
Yesterday’s arrests are a result of a comprehensive eight-month investigation into the activities of an organised syndicate trafficking illegal drugs throughout Victoria.
It’s alleged that the group were distributing drugs, predominantly ICE, via a courier system similar to food delivery businesses where the next tier down of traffickers could order product on demand.
The group was operating throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria, and also had customers traveling from interstate at times.
Detective Superintendent Deb Robertson said the arrests will cause significant disruption to the drug trade in Victoria.
“This is really a next generation, highly entrepreneurial group of drug traffickers who operated an incredibly mobile business,” she said.
“All of those arrested are aged under 30 and the majority of them had not had any previous contact with police until this operation.
“Yesterday’s arrests are an incredibly important outcome for us and given that this was an organised group of traffickers selling to the next tier below of traffickers, it’s almost impossible to determine just how much community harm this will prevent.
“We strongly believe these arrests will result in significant disruption to organised crime and will notably reduce the amount of illegal drugs being distributed across Victoria.
“That being said, the pursuit of drug traffickers who are willing to cause harm to the public never ends for police.
“This is something we will never give up on.
“Drugs are manufactured and sold by people who have absolutely zero regard for the safety of the people who take them, or the harm it causes others such as families.
“The fact that we have also seized a number of weapons, including firearms, as part of this operation is also concerning and really highlights the damage these traffickers do in our communities.”
Police believe that this syndicate was supplying up to 200 other traffickers across the state.
Anyone with information about illegal drug trafficking is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au