Tots caught up in drug swoop
TWO toddlers were taken into protective care yesterday after police raided an alleged clandestine drug laboratory at Buddina.
Police, chemical experts, sniffer dogs and customs officers descended on a duplex on Malinya Drive about 8.20am.
Neighbours were ordered to leave their houses because police believed the substances and solvents found in the home were potentially explosive.
Meanwhile, police, customs and the Australian Fishing Management Authority executed search warrants on several docked and returning trawlers at Mooloolaba Spit just after 10am.
Sniffer dogs uncovered a small bag of marijuana allegedly on a crew member.
Police said they were acting on information collected from tip-offs from the public.
Sunshine Coast police Senior Sergeant Ray Hoelscher said a woman and a man at the Buddina duplex were taken to Maroochydore Police Station for questioning.
Investigations were continuing last night.
“Police had serious concerns for the two boys, aged under two, who were also at the premises,” he said.
“The substances uncovered are incredibly dangerous to inhale and are particularly volatile.
“Clandestine drug laboratories are public safety risks.
“Both children were placed in protective care.”
The Daily understands conditions inside the duplex were squalid and that used needles were scattered throughout.
Snr Sgt Hoelscher said police had to act quickly when they arrived on scene.
“There were cameras attached to the outside of the front and rear of the duplex,” he said.
“A lot of people in the neighbourhood were fairly shocked.
“The message we want people to receive is that if you see any suspicious activity in the street, contact police.
“This can be anything from people coming and going at all hours to high tech security equipment.”
John Hanson, a long-time resident of Malinya Drive, said he was shocked at the discovery of a suspected drug lab.
“I have been living here 17 years and would never have imagined anything like this,” he said.
“About five years ago there was a stabbing on the corner and before that a suicide but other than that it is quiet.
“That is why we like living in this area.”
Mr Hanson said the discovery made him think he should get to know his neighbours better.
“I guess none of us know what is happening over the fence unless you go stick your head over,” he said.
The suspected drugs seized from the laboratory have yet to be identified and the commercial value is unknown.
A car parked in the driveway of the duplex was impounded.