Detectives from North Brisbane Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) have seized cocaine, large quantities of cannabis, $1.5 million in cash and weapons after intercepting an aircraft in Brisbane earlier this week.
The piper Aerostar model light aircraft departed Melbourne and arrived at Redcliffe Airport at 2pm on Monday where police arrested three men alleged to be involved in an interstate drug syndicate.
A search of the plane uncovered approximately $1 million cash and a substantial amount of cannabis with an estimated $3.5 million street value.
As a result, further search warrants were carried out on residential properties and storage sheds across North Brisbane where a further $1.5 million in cash was located and a significant quantity of cannabis.
Operation Romeo Mugwort which was commenced 18 months ago by the Carseldine CIB resulted in a total of $8.5 million cash, weapons, ammunition, cocaine and cannabis being seized.
A further 11 people have since been arrested as part of the transnational syndicate after police intercepted the plane shortly after landing at Redcliffe on Monday afternoon.
The investigation, led by North Brisbane detectives, supported by officers from the Crime and Intelligence Command, Forensics, other specialists and the Australian Federal Police remains ongoing.
Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming, the Brisbane Region Crime and Intelligence Coordinator praised the efforts of detectives and intelligence officers who continue to target people trafficking drugs.
“People who traffic drugs are profiting from the harm caused to users and people who are crime victims because of illicit drugs,” Detective Superintendent Fleming said.
“Queensland Police are at the frontline of cleaning up the mess every day caused by illicit drugs and this is another proactive operation by police aimed at making our community safer.
AFP Northern Command Acting Commander Sascha Rayner said the Queensland Police investigation is an example of authorities working together to outsmart organised crime and keep illicit drugs and deadly weapons off Australian streets.
“The AFP stands ready to support our Queensland counterparts and help in any way we can to stop illegal drugs and firearms from having devastating impacts on our community,” Acting Commander Rayner said.
The 14 men, aged between 25 and 60, are facing almost 150 charges including trafficking in dangerous drugs serious organised crime, trafficking in dangerous drugs, possessing dangerous drugs, supply dangerous drugs, receive or possess property obtained from trafficking or supplying, possessing anything used in the commission of crime defined in Part 2,contravening order about information necessary to access information stored electronically, not being endorsed to possess restricted drug and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.
All are expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court today.