Police are currently in the process of raiding six tobacconists as part of an operation targeting the supply of synthetic cannabis; which has already seen officers seize over $1 million worth of the drug, and $60,000 believed to be proceeds of crime.
Officers from Campbelltown Local Area Command formed Strike Force Sodki in February this year to investigate the supply of synthetic cannabis and other prohibited drugs.
During the course of these investigations, in July, officers seized 20kg of synthetic cannabis from a storage facility in Minto.
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Investigations continued, and last Wednesday (12 August 2015), Police executed a search warrant at a Tobacconist store at Oak Flats, where they seized 2kg of synthetic cannabis and arrested a 64 year old Albion Park male. He was later charged with the Commercial Supply of a Prohibited Drug and Dealing with the Proceeds of Crime. He is refused bail and next due to appear before the Port Kembla Local Court on 7 October, 2015.
Later that same day (12 August, 2015) Police stopped a vehicle at Appin and seized a further 12kg of synthetic cannabis, arresting the 39-year-old male driver from Bradbury.
Police then executed a search warrant at the 39-year-old’s home, where they seized a further 4kg of synthetic cannabis, cash alleged to be proceeds of crime, and other items relating to drug supply.
The 39-year-old man was charged with large commercial supply of a prohibited drug (x2), commercial supply of a prohibited drug and dealing with proceeds of crime. He is refused bail and next due to appear before the Campbelltown Local Court on Monday 14 September, 2015.
A 67-year-old man was also arrested in South West Rocks in connection to the operation. He was charged with knowingly taking part in supplying a large commercial quantity of synthetic cannabis. He has been granted conditional bail and is next due to front Campbelltown Local Court on Monday 14 September 2015.
The following day (Thursday 13 August 2015), police executed four search warrants; two at homes in Glenmore Park and Greenacre, and two at tobacconist shops in Lethbridge Park and Chipping Norton.
At these locations, police seized documents, electronic equipment and drug packaging. Officers also seized about 500 grams of synthetic cannabis from the Chipping Norton tobacconist.
A 34-year-old man was arrested at the Glenmore Park address. He has been charged with supplying a large commercial quantity of synthetic cannabis and participating in a criminal group. The man is refused bail and will next appear before Penrith Local Court on Friday 25 September 2015.
About 10am today (Tuesday 18 August 2015), officers attached to Strike Force Sodki raided six further tobacconist shops in Bradbury, Hoxton Park, Emerton, Parramatta, St Marys and Camden.
Officers remain on scene at these locations and further information about the results of the warrants will be available after they’ve concluded.
The estimated street value of the drugs seized prior to today’s warrants is $1.3 million.
Campbelltown Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Greg Inger, warned about the dangers synthetic drugs can pose.
“Synthetic drugs are often much more potent than the drugs they are supposed to mimic. Some synthetic cannabinoids are up to 100 times stronger than bush-grown marijuana,” Det Insp Inger said.
“The kinds of reactions we are seeing in people that take these drugs are psychotic behaviours: anxiety, panic attacks, acute paranoia and fear. Tragically, people have also died as a result of taking synthetic drugs,” he said.
Police continue to investigate the supply of synthetic cannabis and all other prohibited drugs. Anyone with information that may assist is urged to come forward.