$40 million of illicit drugs seized

The Drug and Firearms Squad detectives charged seven people after $40 million of illicit drugs were seized across multiple districts, including storage sheds in Prospect.

Strike Force Vindin uncovered the massive haul, including a large-scale clandestine lab near Bathurst, while investigating a criminal syndicate involved in the supply and manufacture of prohibited drugs across NSW.

Serving three search warrants at Prospect earlier this month, they seized 150kg of methylamphetamine (ice) and 14kg of cocaine, with a combined estimated potential street value of $33 million, inside separate storage sheds. They also located $1.5 million cash, as well as large quantities of chemicals and solvents consistent with the manufacture of prohibited drugs.

Further search warrants were executed at properties in Prospect, Pemulwuy, Bonnyrigg Heights, Millers Point, Hunters Hill and St Clair late last week. Two crime scene warrants were also executed at a separate property at Pemulwuy and a remote rural property at Pyramul – about 70km north of Bathurst.

Detectives were assisted throughout the operation by Raptor Squad, Public Order and Riot Squad, North West Metropolitan Region Operations Support Group, South West Metropolitan Region Enforcement Squad, Forensic Evidence and Technical Services Command and officers from across the Western Region, as well as Fire & Rescue NSW HAZMAT.

At the Millers Point search, $3 million cash was located inside four large black duffle bags, and a further $50,000 cash inside a safe, as well as prohibited drugs and mobile phones, were seized.

During the Prospect search, $130,000 cash, a Range Rover, documentation, luxury watches, electronic devices and documentation, were seized.

Detectives also located hundreds of litres of chemicals and approximately 400kg of liquid – believed to be unrefined cocaine – from a Pemulway residence.

At the remote rural property at Pryamul, police uncovered a large sophisticated clandestine laboratory inside a warehouse. During the initial deconstruction, officers located a further 15kg of cocaine, as well as chemicals and thousands of litres of liquids.

Further items including cars, motorcycles and two air rifles were also seized. All items and substances seized during the operation will undergo further forensic examination.

Two men – aged 33 and 54 – were arrested during a vehicle stop at Pyramul.

In a subsequent search of the Mitsubishi Triton, officers located several buckets containing 140kg of liquid – believed to be further unrefined cocaine.

The younger man was charged with five counts of supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity. He was refused bail to appear at Lithgow Local Court last Friday (13 August).

The older man was issued a $1000 PIN for breaching the Public Health Order and released pending further inquiries.

A further two men – aged 51 and 53 – were arrested at the Pyramul property and taken to Mudgee Police Station. The younger man was charged with manufacture prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

The older man was charged with manufacture prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), deal with property proceeds of crime and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

Both men were refused bail to appear at Mudgee Local Court last Friday.

Officers are working with the Department of Home Affairs regarding the visa status of the older man.

During the Sydney-based search warrants, four further men were arrested and taken to local police stations.

A 31-year-old St Clair man was arrested during a vehicle stop at Austral. In a subsequent search of the VW Golf, police seized $40,000 cash and an air rifle. The man was taken to Liverpool Police Station and charged with two counts of supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity. He appeared at Liverpool Local Court where he was refused bail to reappear at Penrith Local Court on Friday 24 September.

A 32-year-old Prospect man was charged with two counts of supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity), two counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime and two counts of supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity). He was refused bail and appeared at Blacktown Local Court last Friday.

A 31-year-old Bonnyrigg Heights man was charged with two counts of supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity. He appeared at Burwood Local Court yesterday, where he was refused bail to reappear at the same court on Wednesday 6 October.

A 33-year-old Millers Point man was charged with two counts of supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), deal with property proceeds of crime and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity. He appeared at Central Local Court, was refused bail and will reappear at Parramatta Local Court on Thursday 7 October.

The combined estimated potential street value of the illicit drugs seized during the operation is more than $40 million.

Investigations under Strike Force Vindin are continuing.

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