POLICE have shut down a major meth lab in NSW after finding more than $7 million worth of the drug in a car during a traffic stop in southern NSW.
Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Drug Squad established Strike Force Benedictine in late 2015 to investigate the supply of precursor chemicals to manufacture large quantities of ‘ice’.
Following an extensive investigation, strike force detectives intercepted a utility on the Hume Highway at Penrose, just after 2.10pm on Monday.
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During a search of the ute, officers allegedly uncovered 14.3kg of crystal meth in the tray, packed into snap-lock containers and placed inside a suitcase.
Police said the drugs had the potential to destroy entire communities and could fetch anywhere up to $7 million if sold at street level.
Two men – aged 28 and 34 – were arrested and taken to Bowral Police Station for questioning.
A short time later, officers raided properties at Towrang, Claremont Meadows and Chiswick.
Officers allegedly found a large-scale clandestine laboratory at the Towrang property and a container filled with a further 660g of ‘ice’. Police said the lab was “inactive” and included custom-made steel apparatus.
A 12-guage shotgun and ammunition were also found sitting on a bedside table at the address. Although registered, the firearm was seized as it was not secured properly.
A further $150,000 in cash and a stash of steroids, mobile phones, computers, designer watches and documentation was seized from the other properties.
The two men from Claremont Meadows and Chiswick have both been charged with large commercial manufacture prohibited drug and large commercial supply prohibited drug.
The 34-year-old man has also been charged with an extra count of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.
The pair was formally refused bail in Goulburn Local Court yesterday.
They’ll appear before the same court again next Wednesday.
Drug Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Tony Cooke, said the operation highlighted the ongoing risk of drug manufacture occurring within our communities.
“Not only are we seeing groups producing enough drugs to destroy communities, they are manufacturing them in volatile environments, which present risks of explosion and contamination,” Det Supt Cooke said.
“Clandestine laboratories can produce container loads of drugs here in NSW, which is no different than if it were packed onto a ship and sent from overseas. That is a challenge specific to targeting ‘ice’.
“Our Chemical Operations Team specifically targets this activity and will continue to do so – keeping track of the precursor chemicals, many of which are imported legally, is one of our major priorities.
“The community has an important role to play in reducing the impact of this poison. You are our eyes and ears, and we want to hear from you if you notice something suspicious,” Det Supt Cooke said.
Have a feeling someone in your street is making or dealing drugs? Here is how you can tell;
Seven telltale indicators of drug manufacturing and supply:
- Strange odours emanating from the property
- Diverted electricity
- Chemical containers and waste
- Blacked out windows
- Hoses and pipes in strange places
- Blinds down, with extremely bright indoor lighting radiating through gaps
- Vehicles arriving at odd hours
Anyone who believes they know someone involved in the maufactoring or supply of prohibited dangerous drugs is urged to come forward and call Crime Stoppers anonymously via 18000 333 000.