A whole host of people have been arrested across different states after raids were carried out, including on the Gold Coast.
The eight-month long investigation into cross-border firearm and drug supply ended with police intercepting a light plane carrying 45kg of cannabis and other drugs in southern New South Wales.
Deniliquin Local Area Command commenced Strike Force Charker in January this year to investigate the supply of illegal firearms in the Hay area.
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In the past eight months, police have seized 38 firearms, 100 ecstasy pills and small amount of ‘ice’, and uncovered links to outlaw motorcycle gang activity in South Australia.
As a result, State Crime Command’s Gangs Squad commenced Strike Force Hothersal and has been working closely with Deniliquin Local Area Command, South Australia Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Squad, and the Queensland Police Service’s Taskforce Maxima.
Police will allege in court that large commercial quantities of drugs and firearms were being supplied from South Australia to NSW by people affiliated with the Descendants and Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gangs in South Australia.
About 4.30pm on Wednesday Gangs Squad detectives intercepted a light plane as it landed at Deniliquin Airport.
The pilot, a 67-year-old man from Queensland, was placed under arrest and police seized 45kg of cannabis and four kilograms of a precursor to the drug ‘ice’ from the aircraft.
The aircraft was also seized by police and will undergo forensic examinations.
Three simultaneous search warrants were executed in Hay by Deniliquin Local Area Command, with police arresting four men.
South Australian Police raided nine properties in Adelaide, arresting six people including a 52-year old man from Salisbury North, a 49-year-old man from Allenby Gardens, a 31-year-old man from Salisbury North, a 28-year-old man from Klemzig, a 31-year-old man from Findon, and a 26-year-old man from Elizabeth for serious drug offences. Investigations are ongoing.
The Queensland Police Service’s Taskforce Maxima executed search warrants upon a number of addresses in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
The 67-year-old pilot was taken to Deniliquin Police Station and was charged with Large Commercial drug supply (x2). He was refused bail and is due to appear at Deniliquin Local Court on Thursday.
During the operation in Hay, four men, aged 38, 29, 43 and 46, were arrested. Each of the four men were charged with ongoing gun supply and were bail refused to appear at Deniliquin Local Court also on Thursday.
The Gangs Squad’s Detective Inspector Gavin Wood said the operation demonstrated the close co-operation between different policing jurisdictions to tackle organised crime.
“These investigations have been into a suspected major supply chain for illicit commodities across state borders,” Detective Inspector Wood said.
“It sends a strong message that borders are irrelevant to law enforcement agencies working collaboratively to target the trafficking of firearms and drugs.”
Deniliquin Local Area Commander, Superintendent Paul Condon, praised the work of the local investigative team in the operation.
“This has been a comprehensive investigation by a committed team of police officers who kicked off this case then worked in close partnership with their Sydney and interstate colleagues,” Supt Condon said.
“These officers have played an integral role in investigating a supply chain of guns and drugs to this area and further afield. Their work is to be commended.”