7kg of 'destructive' drugs seized during raids
UPDATE, Wednesday 7.45am: POLICE have revealed they found 3.4kg of MDMA, 1.5kg of cannabis and a quantity of cocaine during raids across Lismore, Byron Bay and the Gold Coast yesterday.
It is alleged the drugs were part of a sophisticated organised crime syndicate.
Three men, aged 22, 45 and 53, were arrested and taken to Byron Bay Police Station.
The 26-year-old man was charged with an outstanding warrant, supply prohibited drug large commercial quantity, supply prohibited drug (x10) and knowingly direct activities of a criminal group.
He was refused bail to appear at Tweed Heads Local Court today.
The 22-year-old man was charged with supply prohibited drug large commercial quantity (x2), supply prohibited drug and participate in criminal group.
He was refused bail to appear at Lismore Local Court today.
The 45-year-old man was charged with supply prohibited drug (x2), participate in criminal group and possess prohibited drug.
He was granted conditional bail to appear at Byron Bay Local Court on June 21.
The 53-year-old man was charged with supply prohibited drug, participate in criminal group, possess prohibited drug and possess or use a prohibited weapon without permission.
He was refused bail to appear at Byron Bay Local Court today.
Richmond Police District Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay, said investigators were pleased with the outcome.
"With the seizure of 7kg of illicit drugs, and the arrest of four people, we know we have been able to reduce the availability of drugs in this area," he said.
"The drugs we have seized during this operation are highly addictive and destructive and it is imperative to our community to get these drugs off our streets.
"Keeping these drugs out of the hands of those who seek to profit and to keep our community safe, is our priority.
"We need the community to continue supporting the police by providing vital information and help to change the acceptance of drugs in our community."
Investigations are continuing and further charges are expected.
Original story, Tuesday 5.45pm: POLICE say raids at properties across the Northern Rivers have lifted the lid on a large syndicate involved in taking drugs into NSW prisons.
Richmond Police District crime manager Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay said officers attached to Strike Force Trevalsa executed search warrants in Lismore Heights, Byron Bay and Bilinga on the Gold Coast today.
Insp Lindsay said four men were now in custody and were assisting police with their enquiries.
He said police expected charges to soon be laid and for the men to face court tomorrow.
The man police will claim is the group's ringleader was arrested at a service station on the Pacific Highway at Chinderah, before being taken to Tweed Heads Police Station.
Insp Lindsay said the investigation, led by Richmond Police District officers, had unveiled what they allege is a large-scale drug production and trafficking operation that's involved with supplying drugs to correctional centre inmates in New South Wales.
"We've uncovered what we will allege is a large commercial supply of cocaine and MDMA within the Byron Bay, Ballina and Lismore areas," he said
"We'll also allege that this syndicate is responsible for the importation of drugs into correctional facilities and has been importing drugs through those facilities.
"I anticipate these men will face some very serious drug charges, ones which relate to large commercial supply.
"We're talking about the top end and the major organised crime in drug supply within this area."
He said police had today seized three kilograms of MDMA and a "large amount" of other material relating to the allegations.
"This investigation has gone over not only police district borders but also over state lines," he said.
"There are also a number of enquiries in the Sydney metropolitan area in relation to these drugs.
"We will allege... this is part of a criminal group that has connections within correctional facilities and we will allege there has been the supply of drugs into correctional facilities by people attached to this syndicate."
While he said it was a "major breakthrough" in a fight against drugs on the Northern Rivers, Insp Lindsay said the war wasn't over.
"This investigation is part of the ongoing investigation by the Richmond Police District into drug supply in this area and we would encourage anyone with any information to come forward, get in contact with police through Crime Stoppers or contact their local police," he said.
Meanwhile an Alstonville home, also raided this afternoon, was suspected to be harbouring a clandestine amphetamine lab but was not believed to be linked to the other alleged drug operations.
Police have not alleged any links to outlaw motorcycle gangs.