Guns, drugs and chemicals seized in North Melbourne

Spencer Fowler Steen

Firearms, cash, drugs and chemicals were seized during a police raid across three properties including one in North Melbourne last month, where a man and woman were arrested and charged with a raft of drug related charges.

On July 28, detectives from the Trident Taskforce executed a search warrant at Chetwynd St, North Melbourne and arrested a 28-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman.

Further search warrants were carried out at addresses in Lynch St, Sunshine and Sussex St, Pascoe Vale.

Police seized several items from the three addresses including two firearms, cash, drugs, pre-cursor chemicals and laboratory equipment.

A crime scene remained in place at the North Melbourne address days after the raid.

The man has been charged with several state and Commonwealth offences including importing a border-controlled drug, attempting to possess commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, and attempting to possess drug of dependence – large commercial quantity.

The woman has also been charged with a number of state and Commonwealth offences including attempting to traffic a drug of dependence – large commercial quantity, attempting to possess a drug of dependence – large commercial quantity and bail offences.

Both appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on July 29 and were remanded to appear again on November 16.

During the search warrant, investigators seized significant quantities of GBL and one, four Butanediol as part of a joint drug trafficking investigation.

The operation, which involved Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police (AFP), and Australian Border Force (ABF) personnel, began earlier this month after 600kg of border-controlled substance Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL) was detected hidden inside an incoming sea cargo consignment.

Two further attempted imports of one, four Butanediol were also detected by Australian Border Force as part of the investigation and seized.

The chemicals are valued at more than $700,000.

Trident Taskforce Detective Inspector Craig Darlow said ABF detected a number of consignments that led to these significant seizures, resulting in an extremely large quantity of harmful drugs being prevented from entering the community.

“We see the damage these drugs do in the Victorian community so to be able to make this seizure with our law enforcement partners and hold people to account is really pleasing,” he said.

“We’re also again seeing the seizure of guns during a drug investigation, which again highlights the strong links between illicit drugs and firearms.”

AFP Southern Command Acting Commander of Investigations Raegan Stewart said this investigation showed the success of authorities continuing to work together to stop illicit drugs reaching the community and disrupting illicit drug supply chains.

“Working together to use the expertise and resources of each agency has prevented this batch of harmful illegal drugs reaching our streets, and brought those we allege are responsible before the courts,” she said.

“The AFP remains committed to identifying and disrupting drug supply chains, and causing maximum damage to organised crime.”

ABF Acting Assistant Commissioner James Watson noted the expertise of the ABF in the detection of dangerous substances and its commitment to disrupting criminal activity.

“ABF officers are deployed at ports across the country to scrutinise cargo. GBL is a colourless liquid without a strong odour. Despite that, our officers successfully detected the GBL that was hidden in a sea cargo consignment,” he said.

“A detection of this magnitude protects Australia from the public health and social problems that the illicit use of GBL creates.”

“These arrests serve as a reminder of the seamless cooperation between law enforcement agencies.” •

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