In Times Of COVID Nsw & Qld (Australia) Don’t Forget Their War On Drugs

If anything higlights what a waste of the public purse the “war on drugs” is, this story (press release) about Strike Force Riche across two states in Australia is . Most defendants have been refused bail but in a matter of weeks they may be back in the community anyway if COVID-19 starts whipping through remand centres. This virus is putting into stark contrast the pointlessness of many human activities the war on drugs being one of them.

Mirage News reports….

Organised Crime Squad detectives have charged 11 people and seized $3 million worth of prohibited drugs as part of investigations into a Sydney-based organised crime syndicate.

In July 2019, the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad and the NSW Crime Commission established Strike Force Riche to investigate a criminal syndicate involved in cannabis cultivation and money laundering.

Their inquiries uncovered a network operating multiple hydro houses in residential areas across Sydney’s south west, and it will be alleged in court that the syndicate cultivated and supplied large commercial quantities of cannabis in NSW and interstate.

During the course of the investigation, a Kia Carnival – with six occupants including two children – was stopped on the Pacific Highway, Heatherbrae, about 11pm on Friday 20 December 2019.

During a search of the vehicle, police located a total of 71kg of cannabis packed in various bags. Two bags – containing a total of 1kg of methylamphetamine – were also seized. The combined estimated potential street value of the drugs is $716,000.

A 41-year-old man was arrested and taken to Raymond Terrace Police Station, where he was charged with supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity) and supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity).

The man from Forest Lake in Queensland, who is now 42, was refused bail and appeared at Newcastle Local Court on Saturday 21 December 2019, where he was formally refused bail and is next due to appear at Raymond Terrace Local Court on Monday 27 April 2020.

As part of ongoing investigations, officers from the North West Region Enforcement Squad executed a search warrant at a home on Vardys Road, Blacktown, on Wednesday 5 February 2020, where they located an elaborate hydroponic set-up and seized 152 cannabis plants.

Acting on information received by strike force detectives, a 24-year-old man from Liverpool, NSW, was arrested by Queensland Police Service officers at Brisbane Domestic Airport on Wednesday 19 February 2020. Police allegedly found more than $175,000 in his possession.

Later the same day, a search warrant was executed at a home at Chuwar, Queensland, where police seized 45kg of cannabis, methylamphetamine, more than $114,000 cash and arrested a 50-year-old man at the home.

Both men have been charged and remain before the courts in Queensland.

Following further inquiries, strike force detectives, assisted by Bass Hill and North West Region Enforcement Squads, executed seven search warrants at residential units and a storage unit in Liverpool, Bankstown and Lansvale and four crime scene warrants at homes in Revesby, Punchbowl and Yagoona from 7am yesterday (Wednesday 25 March 2020).

During the searches, police seized a total of 456 cannabis plants, 22kg of cannabis head and $330,000 cash.

The total estimated potential street value of the drugs seized in this investigation is more than $3 million.

Eight people – including six men and two women – who are all Vietnamese Nationals were arrested during yesterday’s operation.

The 52-year-old Liverpool man was charged with supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), take part supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity x2), supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), knowingly direct activities of criminal group, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

Police will allege in court that the man directed the activities of the other syndicate members who supplied a total of 587kg of cannabis between October 2019 and March 2020.

The 38-year-old Liverpool woman was charged with take part supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), take part supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity x2), take part cultivate cannabis, take part supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

Police will allege in court that the woman was a senior member of the syndicate and assisted in harvesting and packing the crops for supply.

The 24-year-old Liverpool man was charged with take part supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), take part supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

Police will allege in court that the man was involved in the transportation of hydroponic equipment and supplying large commercial quantities of cannabis.

The 20-year-old Liverpool man was charged with supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity x2), and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

The 21-year-old Liverpool woman was charged with supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity), and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

They were all refused bail to appear at Liverpool Local Court today (Thursday 26 March 2020).

The 40-year-old Bankstown man was charged with 11 offences including supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity x2), supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), cultivate prohibited plant (x3), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime (x2), participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, and drive motor vehicle during disqualification period.

Police will allege in court that the man was a senior member of the syndicate and assisted in the coordination of the grow houses.

The 37-year-old Bankstown man was charged with participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, take part cultivate cannabis (x3), and use/consume/waste electricity without authority (x2).

The second 20-year-old man from Bankstown was charge with participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, take part cultivate cannabis (x2), and use/consume/waste electricity without authority.

The trio have been refused bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court today.

Investigations under Strike Force Riche are continuing.

Source:  https://www.miragenews.com/sydney-based-money-laundering-cannabis-supply-syndicate-dismantled-after-11-charged/?fbclid=IwAR3_csbeW8U4HITnDQQ3jOtmSuPSTrNCXOX46oEBf7uUlPF-IX0j5eniNHg

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