Redfern RES charge 137 during Christmas cocaine operation, NSW

Redfern Region Enforcement Squad (RES) investigators have charged 137 people, seized more than $112,000 cash and over 530g of cocaine, as part of a targeted “Dial-a-Dealer” operation across Sydney in the lead up to Christmas and as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

In September 2017, detectives from Redfern RES established Strike Force Northrop to investigate and target the ongoing supply of cocaine within the Central Metropolitan Region.

As part of ongoing investigations, targeted police operations were conducted on nine nights over four weeks in November and December this year.

Redfern RES investigators were assisted throughout the operation by the Dog Unit, Surry Hills RES and Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, as well as officers from Eastern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs, Inner West, Kings Cross, Leichhardt, North Shore, South Sydney, St George, Surry Hills and Sydney City Police Area Commands.

During the operation, officers seized more than 530g of cocaine, 1kg of cannabis, 19g of MDMA, 16g of ketamine, 21g of LSD, 2g of heroin, 2g of methylamphetamine (ice) and $112,745 cash.

The total estimated potential street value of the drugs seized is more than $174,000.

Detectives charged 77 people with drug supply and charged 60 people with drug possession.

Significant incidents include;

1) About 4.10pm on Friday 13 November 2020, officers stopped and searched a Mitsubishi Mirage on Margaret Street, Sydney, locating $300 cash, nearly 5g of cocaine and 4.7g of MDMA. The driver, a 22-year-old Bankstown man, was charged with deal with property proceeds of crime, supply prohibited drug, deemed supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity) and deemed supply prohibited drug. He appeared at the Downing Centre Local Court last Wednesday (2 December 2020), where he was granted strict conditional bail to reappear at the same court on Friday 19 February 2021. The passenger, a 43-year-old man, was charged with possess prohibited drug. He was issued a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) to appear at the same court on Tuesday 22 December 2020.

2) Just after 6pm on Friday 13 November 2020, officers stopped a white BMW on Hickson Road, The Rocks, locating $2100 cash and more than 21g of cocaine in 31 separate bags in a hidden compartment. The driver, a 32-year-old Merrylands West man, was charged with supply prohibited drug, supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity) and deal with property proceeds of crime. He appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday 14 November 2020 and is next due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday 20 January 2021. The passenger, a 33-year-old man, was issued a CAN for possess prohibited drug. He is due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday 14 January 2021.

3) About 10.30pm on Friday 13 November 2020, officers stopped a blue Holden Astra near the intersection of Carrington Road and Victoria Street, Waverley, locating 2g of cocaine and $1,650 cash. The driver, 20-year-old woman, and front passenger, an 18-year-old woman, were both charged with two counts of supply prohibited drug and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime. The pair were granted strict conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court today (Tuesday 8 December 2020). The 29-year-old male back-seat passenger was charged with possess prohibited drug. He was issued a CAN to appear at the same court tomorrow (Wednesday 9 December 2020).

4) Just before 11pm on Friday 13 November 2020, officers stopped a black Audi on Jacques Street, Bondi Beach, locating $3795 cash and 12.5g of cocaine in 18 separate bags. The driver, an 18-year-old Punchbowl man, was charged with supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity) and deal with property proceeds of crime. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court today (Tuesday 8 December 2020).

5) About 6.30pm on Friday 20 November 2020, officers stopped a white Mazda 3 on Glenmore Road, Paddington, locating nearly 3g of ketamine and an amount of MDMA. In a subsequent search of the driver, a 32-year-old Constitution Hill woman, police seized more than 15g of cocaine in 25 separate bags. She was charged with three counts of supply prohibited drug, supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity) and deal with property proceeds of crime. She was granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday 15 December 2020. The passenger, 31-year-old Bellevue Hill man, was issued a CAN for possess prohibited drug. He is due to appear at Waverley Local Court on Friday 11 December 2020.

6) Just after 8pm on Friday 20 November 2020, officers stopped a white Hyundai i30 sedan on Bayswater Road, Rushcutters Bay, locating cocaine and $600 cash. The driver, a 31-year-old Zetland man, was charged with supply prohibited drug, possess prohibited drug and deal with property proceeds of crime. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday 15 December 2020. The passenger, a 23-year-old Belgian National, was arrested following a short foot pursuit. In a subsequent search of the man, police seized cocaine from his pants. He was charged with possess prohibited drug and is due to appear at the same court on Friday 18 December 2020.

7) About 4.10pm last Friday (4 December 2020), officers stopped a white Kia Picante on Hickson Road, The Rocks, locating $1200 cash, cocaine, heroin and drug paraphernalia. In a subsequent search of the driver, a 23-year-old Fairfield East woman, police located more than 27g of cocaine in 35 separate bags allegedly hidden in her underwear. She was charged with supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), supply prohibited drug, possess prohibited drug and deal with proceeds of crime. She appeared at Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday (5 December 2020), where she was granted strict conditional bail to reappear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday 11 December 2020. The passenger, a 36-year-old Dubbo man, was issued a CAN for possess prohibited drug. He is due to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Friday 22 January 2021.

8) About 7pm last Friday (4 December 2020), officers stopped a white Jeep Cherokee on Yurong Street, Darlinghurst, locating cocaine, $1500 cash concealed in the roof lining and a further $2850 in the jacket of the front passenger. The driver, a 26-year-old Eagle Vale man, and front passenger, an 18-year-old Airds man, were both charged with two counts of supply prohibited drug and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime. The pair were granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday 12 January 2021. The 42-year-old male back-seat passenger was issued a CAN for possess prohibited drug. The Darlinghurst man is due to appear at the same court on Friday 18 December 2020.

9) About 6pm on Saturday (5 December 2020), officers stopped a white Honda Jazz on Glen Street, Bondi, locating 5g of MDMA, 21g of LSD, ketamine and cannabis. The driver, a 31-year-old Double Bay man, was charged with three counts of supply prohibited drug, supply prohibited drug (indictable quantity), deal with property proceeds of crime and possess prohibited drug. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Waverley Local Court on Tuesday 19 January 2021. The passenger, a 34-year-old Randwick man, was arrested following a brief physical altercation with plain-clothed police. He was subsequently charged with resist officer in execution of duty and two counts of possess prohibited drug. The man is due to appear at Waverley Local Court on Tuesday 12 January 2021.

Redfern Region Enforcement Squad Commander, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Bell, said investigators charged 137 people during the operation, making it the largest number of arrests in one operational phase since the inception of Strike Force Northrop in 2017.

“Our officers were once again left astounded by the insatiable demand for prohibited drugs from those across our community – particularly after what has been a testing year for the people of New South Wales and worldwide,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

“Over the past month, and with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we have seen a significant increase in criminal enterprises utilising the ‘Dial-a-Dealer’ methodology to supply cocaine and other prohibited substances across Sydney.

“Police will allege the majority of those charged with supply are operating on behalf of organised crime syndicates for financial gain. That money is then often funnelled into other criminal activities and can cause significant harm in the community.

“The supply and demand of cocaine is not just a police issue – it impacts everyone in our society and is evident from those arrested, as they are from all walks of life including corporate professionals to the unemployed.

“To have nearly 140 people charged in one operation is alarming, and it is disappointing that many of these individuals will start the new year with a criminal record.

“We want everyone in New South Wales to have a safe and happy holiday season, so the message remains the same – if you are dealing or using drugs, you will be charged and put before the courts,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

Since its inception in 2017, Strike Force Northrop investigators have charged 399 people with drug-related offences, including 242 for supply.

Over the past three years, investigators have seized more than 4.1kg of cocaine, 490g of MDMA, 1.1kg of cannabis and more than $1.12 million cash.

Investigations under Strike Force Northrop are ongoing.

Anyone with information about the supply of prohibited drugs is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

/Public Release. View in full here.