Three men arrested in series of raids – with cash, drugs, fireworks seized

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Brendan Rees

Police have charged three men from West Melbourne and North Melbourne with drug offences after a series of warrants were executed in early April.

The arrests were part of a major operation involving detectives from the Echo Taskforce, Illicit Firearms Squad, Gang Crime Squad, VIPER Taskforce and North West Metro Regional Crime Squad.

In total, eight warrants were executed at residential addresses in Flemington, West Melbourne (two), North Melbourne, Essendon, Highett, Bundoora and Mernda, as well as a business in Mernda.

As a result, police said they seized $20,000 cash, various drugs of dependence, prescription medication and fireworks from a West Melbourne address, while cannabis was seized at another West Melbourne property.

A 28-year-old West Melbourne man was charged on April 4 with possessing a drug of dependence, explosives, and proceeds of crime.

He was bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on June 23.

A 32-year-old West Melbourne man was also charged on April 4 with cultivate cannabis. He was released and is expected to be charged on summons.

An additional warrant was executed at a residential address in North Melbourne on April 6.

A 27-year-old North Melbourne man was charged with two counts of traffic drug of dependence, possess drug of dependence, and possess proceeds of crime.

He was bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on June 23.

The raids were prompted after Australian Federal Police officers arrested a 26-year-old man, believed to be an associate of the Rebels OMCG, at an address in Mernda on April 4.

The man was charged with procuring a child for trafficking-controlled drugs, trafficking a commercial quantity of a controlled drug and perverting the course of justice.

It is believed to be the first time the Commonwealth charge of procuring a child for trafficking-controlled drugs has been used in Australia.

Police said they also seized $90,000 cash, weapons, and prescription medication from the Mernda address.

Detective Acting Superintendent Craig Darlow of the state anti-gangs division said motorcycle gangs relied on criminal activities to fund their operations and “have no regard for the damage their drug dealing activities cause to our community”.

“The collaborative effort with our partners agencies at both a state and federal level ensures we are able to relentlessly disrupt these gangs to minimise the harm caused by their criminal ventures,” he said.

 

This operation is an example of our willingness to share resources and capability to achieve our goal of making Victoria the most hostile environment possible for serious and organised crime groups to operate.

 

AFP Acting Superintendent Glenn Tankard said organised criminals would try every avenue to profit off the high demand for illicit drugs in Australia – including exploiting children.

“Today’s charges show the depths these gangs will stoop to peddle their misery,” Acting Det-Supt Tankard said.

“Every cent that organised criminals gain from an illicit drug sale takes them one step closer to funding their next criminal venture.”  

 

Caption: A man is arrested as part of an Echo Taskforce detectives and the Australian Federal Police operation. Image: Victoria Police

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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