Two Victorian men charged with trafficking illicit drugs

Two Victorian men appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Friday 7 June, 2024) charged with allegedly trafficking a commercial quantity of illicit drugs.

The men were arrested in Port Melbourne on Thursday (6 June) after one of the men was allegedly in possession of 12kg of methamphetamine and the second man was allegedly in possession of 1kg of cocaine.

Police will allege a Docklands man, 36, and Keysborough man, 34, were part of a transnational serious organised crime syndicate intending to distribute the illicit drugs throughout Victoria.

The Victorian Joint Organised Crime Taskforce (VIC JOCTF) identified the men during an investigation into alleged drug trafficking in Melbourne.

The VIC JOCTF, comprising the AFP, Victoria Police and Australian Border Force (ABF), arrested the men yesterday after they both arrived in vehicles at a location in Port Melbourne.

Police executed search warrants on the men’s vehicles and an ABF canine allegedly detected narcotics in the rear of the Docklands man’s vehicle. It will be alleged a concealed compartment in the vehicle contained two electronic devices, a scale and 12 clip seal bags each with about 1kg of crystalline methamphetamine.

Police also allegedly seized a 1kg brick of cocaine, three electronic devices and $30,000 cash from the Keysborough man’s vehicle.

The VIC JOCTF also executed search warrants at homes in Docklands and Keysborough, and businesses in South Melbourne and Port Melbourne.

Police seized an unregistered Glock 26 firearm, four boxes of ammunition, four computers, seven mobile devices, and about $4,000 in cash at the Docklands home. Police seized 18 electronic devices at the Port Melbourne business premises.

Both men have been charged with one count of trafficking a large commercial quantity of a drug of dependence, contrary to section 71 of the Drug, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic).

The Docklands man was also charged with possession of an unregistered firearm, contrary to section 7B(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (Vic).

The Docklands man has been remanded in custody, and the Keysborough man has been bailed. Both men will reappear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 26 September, 2024.

The maximum penalty for the trafficking offence is life imprisonment.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Chris Salmon said transnational serious organised crime groups were driven by money and power and had no regard for the harm illicit substances inflicted upon our community.

“The AFP cannot overstate the amount of harm that 12kg of methamphetamine and 1kg of cocaine could have caused to our community if it had not been intercepted by law enforcement,” Supt Salmon said.

“If the alleged methamphetamine trafficking had made it to our streets, it would have had an estimated street value of $10.8 million and enough to make up 120,000 individual street deals.

“Methamphetamine use can cause immense psychological, financial and social harm to users and those around them. About 12,200 Australians are hospitalised from the illicit drug every 12 months.*

“This operation shows the value of the AFP and its partnerships and how important our workforces are in keeping Australians safe. I would like to thank the dedicated men and women – the sworn and unsworn members – who have again helped protect Australians from the scourge of illicit drugs.”

Victoria Police Detective Acting Superintendent Dan Ryan said organised crime syndicates are driven by profit and have no regard for those people who these illicit drugs will potentially have life changing impacts on.

“The negative effects this amount of methylamphetamine would have had are significant. This includes further criminality linked to the use and trafficking of drugs but also through fatal overdoses, family violence incidents, aggravated burglaries and deaths on our roads,” he said.

“Today also highlights how we often see drugs and firearms go hand in hand, so to seize a weapon during these warrants is also particularly satisfying. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to detect, seize and prosecute those who choose to engage this type of criminal activity.”

ABF Acting Superintendent Ben Michalke said ABF investigators continue to work closely with their law enforcement partners to prevent dangerous drugs from reaching Australian streets.

“The Australian border is a critical national asset and our first line of defence against criminals who seek to profit at the expense of our community’s safety,” Acting Superintendent Michalke said.

“The illicit drug trade continues to impact upon many members of the community, causing significant harm to individuals and families, and the ABF remains determined to detect and disrupt criminal groups from importing illicit substances such as methamphetamine into our country.

“Stopping this insidious and extremely destructive substance from impacting the community is a great outcome.”

* Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

/Public Release. View in full here.