CLOSE to $15 million worth of illicit drugs have been seized and 12 people have been arrested following a major police operation across the state’s south, which saw 40 Griffith officers swoop in on a number of local properties on Wednesday.
Griffith Police were called in to assist in the state-wide drug squad investigations into a major drug supply syndicate operating throughout southern NSW.
On Wednesday evening, police raided a property on Wood Road in Yenda and uncovered and seized two pallets filled with shotgun cartridges and 60kg of gunpowder.
Witnesses reported seeing plain-clothes police officers speaking with the owner of the property as it was searched.
It is understood at least three police vehicles and a number of officers were involved in the search, which started as early as 10am, and two small trucks were loaded at the property.
In 2012, detectives from the drug squad and investigators from the Far South Coast Local Area Commands formed Strike Force Oceanic to investigate the syndicate.
Police will allege the syndicate was involved in the production, distribution and sale of commercial quantities of methylamphetamine and cannabis.
Griffith Police acting Local Area Commander Paul Smith said the Griffith LAC has been called in to assist in the state-wide bust.
"We had 40 officers on the ground in Griffith and a number of properties were searched during the operation.
"Investigations are continuing."
Around 9am on Wednesday, police arrested three men and seized nine kilograms of methylamphetamine during an operation in Gundagai.
The nine kilograms of methylamphetamine have an estimated street value of $9 million.
All three were bail refused and appeared at Wagga Wagga Local Court yesterday.
Officers subsequently executed search warrants at numerous properties across the state, seizing millions of dollars worth of shotguns, ammunition, cannabis plants, seeds and more.
In addition to drugs, ammunition and weapons, police also seized a number of vehicles, machines and documents during the raids.
A number of search warrants at a variety of locations throughout NSW are still in progress and more items of interest are expected to be seized.
Yesterday’s warrants and arrests follow the arrests of five other people during earlier stages of Strike Force Oceanic.
Drug Squad Commander Tony Cooke, said Wednesday’s operation would seriously disrupt the illicit drug trade in many parts of southern NSW.
“We will allege in court that there had been a major syndicated operation in the supply of drugs to numerous communities throughout the south of the state, and we are confident yesterday’s arrests will seriously disrupt the syndicate’s activity,” Detective Superintendent Cooke said.
“This has been a tremendous example of the cooperation which exists between state crime detectives, local area police and specialist officers right across the state, ensuring it is not easy for drug dealings to happen in any town in NSW.
“In particular, this operation should give rural and regional communities confidence that drug dealing, anywhere, is something we will continue to pursue.”
Far South Coast Local Area Commander Peter O’Brien said police would continue to crack down on the drug trade.
“Local investigators and drug squad detectives have worked tirelessly on this case and yesterday’s results are a testament to their remarkable effort,” Superintendent O’Brien said.
“Drugs can not only destroy people’s lives, they can ravage entire communities.
“Anyone who is involved in the production, distribution or sale of illicit drugs deserves to be put behind bars, and we will continue to do everything we can to gets drugs – and the people who deal them – out of our communities.”
Police have urged anyone with information about drug crime to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.