Raids expose alleged drug ring

Raids expose alleged drug ring - 26th May 2004
(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

Truck drivers bought, used and sold amphetamines in a $23 million racket allegedly organised by five bikie gangs in three states, police said.

An 18-month police investigation climaxed at dawn as 350 officers in NSW, South Australia and Queensland simultaneously swooped on 29 properties, arresting 20 people.

Police say five bikie gangs - the Rebels, Nomads, Gypsy Jokers, Hells Angels and Finks - are part of a network alleged to have produced drugs such as cannabis and speed worth about $23 million.

Officers attached to Strike Force Winstead allege the drugs were being sold to, distributed and used by truck drivers, operating on routes between Queensland and South Australia.

NSW Gangs Squad Commander Ken McKay, speaking in Dubbo in NSW, said police were investigating a NSW trucking company that allegedly transported the drugs through the region and interstate.

"It appears to us this syndicate has been set up here to access the interstate trucking route," Detective Superintendent McKay told reporters.

"As far as organised gangs go, we have evidence in this investigation that there are members from a number of different motorcycle gangs.

"For example, we have evidence that it's people in Dubbo who are members of or associated with the Rebels and the Nomads, in South Australia it's members of the Gypsy Jokers and the Hells Angels."

He said further arrests would be made as investigations continued but police would "allege that these drugs were used by people in the trucking industry".

Authorities have long been concerned about truckies' use of illegal stimulants to keep awake for long periods.

In the raids about 200 officers swooped on 11 properties at Dubbo, in NSW's central-west, where police believed the syndicate was based.

They also raided a house in Port Stephens, on the NSW central coast, and three in the Sydney suburbs of Casula, Erskine Park and St Clair.

Twelve men and two women were arrested in NSW and charged with offences including conspiracy to manufacture and supply prohibited drugs, as well as firearms and property offences.

During the raids, Strike Force Winstead officers recovered firearms, ammunition, amphetamines, prohibited weapons and chemical precursors, as well as evidence of clandestine drug laboratories.

Det Supt McKay said the "extremely successful" operation had stopped an organised crime drug racket.


Media websites

The Sydney Morning Herald


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