Trident Taskforce seize drugs and chemicals in joint operation

Detectives from the Trident Taskforce yesterday arrested two people and seized significant quantities of GBL and 1,4 Butanediol as part of a joint drug trafficking investigation.

The operation, which involved Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, and Australian Border Force personnel, commenced earlier this month after 600kg of border-controlled substance Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL) was detected hidden inside an incoming sea cargo consignment.

Two further attempted imports of 1,4 Butanediol were also detected by Australian Border Force as part of the investigation and seized.

The chemicals are valued at over $700,000.

Yesterday morning investigators executed a search warrant at Chetwynd Street, North Melbourne and arrested a 28-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman.

Further search warrants were subsequently executed at addresses in Lynch Street, Sunshine and Sussex Street, Pascoe Vale.

Police seized a number of items from the three addresses including two firearms, cash, drugs, pre-cursor chemicals and laboratory equipment.

A crime scene remains in place at the North Melbourne address and police will continue to work through the day.

The man has been charged with a number of state and Commonwealth offences including import border controlled drug, attempt to possess commercial quantity of border controlled drug, and attempt to possess drug of dependence – large commercial quantity.

The woman has been charged with a number of state and Commonwealth offences including attempt to traffic drug of dependence – large commercial quantity, attempt to possess drug of dependence – large commercial quantity and bail offences.

Both appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today and were remanded to appear again on 16 November.

Australian Border Force Acting Assistant Commissioner James Watson noted the expertise of the ABF in the detection of dangerous substances and its commitment to disrupting criminal activity.

“ABF officers are deployed at ports across the country to scrutinise cargo. GBL is a colourless liquid without a strong odour. Despite that, our officers successfully detected the GBL that was hidden in a sea cargo consignment.

“A detection of this magnitude protects Australia from the public health and social problems that the illicit use of GBL creates.

“These arrests serve as a reminder of the seamless cooperation between law enforcement agencies. It is also a warning to criminals that we are determined to hunt down those who seek to harm our communities.”

AFP Southern Command Acting Commander of Investigations Raegan Stewart said this investigation shows the success of authorities continuing to work together to stop illicit drugs reaching the community and disrupt illicit drug supply chains.

“Working together to use the expertise and resources of each agency has prevented this batch of harmful illegal drugs reaching our streets, and brought those we allege are responsible before the courts.

“The AFP remains committed to identifying and disrupting drug supply chains, and causing maximum damage to organised crime.”

Trident Taskforce Detective Inspector Craig Darlow also commented on the operation.

“Australian Border Force (ABF) detected a number of consignments that led to these significant seizures, resulting in an extremely large quantity of harmful drugs being prevented from entering the community.

“We see the damage these drugs do in the Victorian community so to be able to make this seizure with our law enforcement partners and hold people to account is really pleasing.

“We’re also again seeing the seizure of guns during a drug investigation, which again highlights the strong links between illicit drugs and firearms.”

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