POLICE have seized enough precursor chemicals to cook $225 million worth of crystal meth in a series of dawn raids on the NSW Central Coast.
Strikeforce detectives investigating the importation, manufacture, and supply of ice raided two properties in Terrigal and Killcare and a storage facility in West Gosford about 6.30am on Thursday.
During the operation, officers seized more than 400kg of precursor chemicals, pill press parts and other equipment used to manufacture illicit drugs.
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Police said they seized enough precursor chemicals to produce 250kg, or $225 million worth of ‘ice’.
A 32-year-old man was arrested at a unit complex in Terrigal and taken to Gosford Police Station where he was charged with 14 offences, including participating in a criminal group.
The man has been remanded in custody and will appear in Gosford Local Court tomorrow.
Today’s operation forms part of a protracted investigation which began back in May last year when authorities were tipped-off about precursor chemicals being imported from overseas.
The State Crime Command’s Drug and Firearms Squad and Australian Border Force established Strike Force Footman to investigate the allegations.
At the time, detectives seized 100kg of Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), which has an estimated potential street value of more than $300,000.
Then, in August this year, Strikeforce police uncovered a clandestine laboratory in Ashtead Parade in Stanhope Gardens following an explosion.
The lab was dismantled and nine kilograms of ‘ice’ and 1.5L of meth oil.
Police said the drugs had a combined estimated potential street value of almost $7 million.
Following further inquiries, detectives executed a search warrant at a caravan park at Diamond Beach on Tuesday and seized several items, including pill press dyes, electronic devices, and steroids.
A 38-year-old man was arrested at the scene and taken to Forster Police Station where he was charged with a long list of serious offences. He remains before the courts.
Drug and Firearms Squad Commander Detective Acting Superintendent Michael Cook said, while police have seized drugs and precursors potentially worth more than $230 million, the investigation isn’t over.
“NSW Police Force – and our law enforcement partners – are determined and relentless in their pursuit to disrupt the manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs in the community,” Det A/Supt Cook said.
“This approach is working; in the past financial year, we have seen an increase of 47 percent in locating and dismantling clandestine laboratories.
“We will continue to work to detect and seize illegal drugs using various methods and by targeting drug supply and possession at all levels.
“Those involved in the manufacture or supply of drugs should know this – you are in our sights and it won’t be long now until you’re sitting in the back of a police car.”
Investigations under Strike Force Footman continue.
You can report also information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via nsw.crimestoppers.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.