Massive blitz deals devastating blow to 'Ice Highway'
BREAKING: A major police operation targeting the "Ice Highway" in south-west Queensland has ended with 148 people facing 502 charges.
The week-long operation involving officers from the Dalby-Burnett and South-West district, along with specialist units from Brisbane and the Stock and Rural Crime Investigation Squad, seized large quantities of ice, methamphetamines, stolen firearms and explosives.
South-West District Detective Inspector Paul Hart said Operation Mike Sabis had focused on drug activity in the rural and regional areas, with police certain the arrests delivered a crushing blow to the drug supply networks.
"This was a major operation that targeted a number of people in and around Roma, Dalby and the south-west area, specifically in relation to the movement of ice, amphetamines and firearms," Det. Insp. Hart said.
"Police would certainly allege this was a well-organised business.
"It's quite a network of contacts that were involved hence the scale of the operation and we think that our investigation in this matter will be ongoing."
Police seized 1.2kg of ice, 1.7kg of cannabis, two clandestine drug laboratories were located and weapons including Tasers and commercial explosives in the operation.
Two people arrested under the operation are believed to be the main organisers of the illicit drug trade, trafficking firearms and explosives alongside stores of ice and amphetamines.
A 48-year-old Tara man was charged with 29 drug offences including trafficking and supply. He appeared in Dalby Magistrates Court on August 25.
A 28-year old Tara woman was charged with 14 drug offences including trafficking and supply and is due to appear in Dalby Magistrates Court on September 20.
Det. Inp. Hart described the seizure as "significant".
"We know that members of the rural community out here have been concerned about the so-called Ice Highway leading to the area, and we believe this has put a big dent in that trade," he said.
"We certainly believe that two of the primary targets that have been arrested and charged with trafficking are major players in the drug distribution networks in the south-west, and we're very pleased to say we have been able to arrest these people."
Police executed 131 search warrants over the course of the operation which located stolen firearms traced back to rural properties, stores of explosives, other weaponry and heavy machinery which will be scientifically examined in coming days.
Six people are facing a combined nine counts of trafficking and 150 of supplying dangerous drugs.
Police also seized about $500,000 worth of heavy machinery police will allege is stolen or the proceeds of crime.
"We seized a number of firearms as part of this operation and we are concerned by that," Det. Insp. Hart said.
"We're asking all people, particularly those in rural areas, to secure their firearms.
"They are said to have been stolen from a number of rural properties around this area (and) some of the firearms certainly have been modified."
Investigations are continuing and further arrests and charges are likely, Det. Insp. Hart said.
"We could encourage the community to provide us with more information so we can follow up," he said.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.