Over 15 million MDMA pills have been stopped from hitting the streets of Queensland and potentially reaching the hands of Schoolies following a major joint operation.
The Australian Federal Police and The Queensland Joint Organised Crime Taskforce confirmed officers from the Netherlands seized 700kg of crystalline MDMA in Rotterdam on 23 August, which was allegedly bound for Queensland.
Following the discovery, search warrants were executed at 15 locations in the Netherlands and Belgium this month, uncovering concealed laboratories and 50 tonnes of precursor chemicals for the production of MDMA.
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“In total authorities seized approximately 850kg of crystalline MDMA and 548 litres of MDMA Oil from locations in the Netherlands and Belgium,” the AFP said.
“With an estimated street value of AUD $301.6 million, this quantity of drugs had the potential to be processed into over 15 million MDMA tablets in Australia.”
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says there’s every chance the drugs could have ended up on the Gold Coast.
“We’ve seen drug dealers specifically target Schoolies and we’ve also seen in this job the fact that the timing would have meant that these pills would have been hitting the streets here in Queensland at a time just before Schoolies,” Mr Dutton said at a press conference on Friday.
“We are very conscious of the fact that people prey and these criminals don’t care where they make a dollar…. They don’t have regard for human life like we do.
“I think I speak on behalf of everyone who are parents of kids here at Schoolies… thank you very much to the police and law enforcement officers for the work they have done to take those drugs off the streets that may well have ended up in schoolies hands.
“As a parent of teenagers it’s one of the things that keeps you awake at night, because you’re worried about something being slipped into a drink, you’re worried about a pill being passed off as nothing more than just having a good time, and yet we’ve seen the terrible consequences.”
Police have charged 11 people including two Dutch nationals, a 58-year-old man and a 37-year-old man alleged to be key players in the criminal syndicate, as well as a 48-year-old woman from Bass Hill in NSW.
She was arrested in Sydney on 11 November and extradited to Brisbane where she was charged with attempt to possess a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The woman is next due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on November 29.