One-year operation unveils CQ drug trafficking ring
POLICE have charged 23 people and seized more than $160,000 in a Gladstone drug operation that finished today.
Operation Papa Bowler targeted a ring of large-scale drug traffickers in the Gladstone area and involved the Gladstone Criminal Investigation Branch.
Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow said that during the one-year investigation "a fair quantity of drugs" was seized, namely ice and amphetamines.
In what can be described as the peak of the year-long operation, $54,000 was seized from one Gladstone residence yesterday.
A raid in the last 48 hours of Operation Papa Bowler also uncovered a dismantled drug lab, a hydroponic marijuana crop, methamphetamine and marijuana.
Since the start of the operation, 23 people have been charged with 52 offences.
Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Andersen told The Observer: "Those charged to date are a syndicate of well-organised persons who arrange for drugs to be produced or brought into the Gladstone community."
He said of the 23 charged, eight were facing trafficking charges and two were facing drug-production charges.
"We will allege these persons will bring large amounts of drugs into the region and have been profiting from this for several years," Det Sen-Sgt Andersen said.
He said two meth labs were found during the operation and that he excpected more arrests to be made relating to methamphetamine trafficking.
"These arrests will have a significant impact in the Gladstone Region with drug offences and related crime," Det Sen-Sgt Andersen said.
At a press conference at the Rockhampton Police Station today, Det-Insp Shadlow said: "It will be alleged they (those facing criminal charges) were certainly known to each other."
"Some faced court yesterday (Wednesday) and others will face court in the coming weeks," he said.
In excess of $160,000was seized by police during the bust, which police will allege was to be used to purchase dangerous drugs.
Detectives from the Gladstone CIB along with officers from the Brisbane Drug Dog squad, Rockhampton and Gladstone general duty officers were all involved in operation.
Det-Insp Shadlow said police would continue to target the drug-trafficking ring, in the area.
"This investigation hasn't ceased with the closure of this phase of the operation and we will continue to target drug traffickers within the Capricornia District," he said.