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Major drug ring busted on Sunshine Coast

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Police have seized more than $1 million in illicit drugs and arrested 28 people on 110 charges following the closure of a major operation targeting a sophisticated Sunshine Coast drug syndicate.

Operation Papa Argyle started in January 2017 following the identification of a high level organised crime syndicate on the Sunshine Coast controlling a number of major trafficking networks.

The closure of the protracted operation today resulted in a 28–year-old Sunshine Coast man, an alleged member of the crime group, charged with a number of drug trafficking offences.

The Sunshine Coast District Drug and Serious Crime Task Force closed the first phase of the operation on October 8, 2017 following the execution of a search warrant at an inner city Brisbane apartment which was alleged to have been the crime group’s “safe house”.

Police located a quantity of cocaine, a cocaine press, MDMA capsule press, methylamphetamine and a large sum of cash.

Three alleged syndicate members were charged with multiple drug offences including drug trafficking and further charges relating to serious organised crime legislation.

Further investigations resulted in the arrest of a further eight alleged crime group members who were charged with drug offences including drug trafficking and organised crime legislation.

Phase two of Papa Argyle led to the identification of a further syndicate which had been sourcing predominantly commercial quantities of cannabis from Sydney.

The closure of this phase on March 8, 2018 resulted in a vehicle being intercepted near Oxenford where a substantial quantity of cannabis was located.

A simultaneous search warrant at a Doolandella property resulted in the seizure of more than $2.2 million in cash along with a large quantity of expensive jewellery believed to be proceeds of drug trafficking.

A further five arrests were made including two alleged primary offenders in relation to drug trafficking offences.

On the June 11, 2018 detectives from the Sunshine Coast commenced phase three which led to the arrest of another two alleged primary offenders at their residences in Ormiston and Carina.

To date, 28 people have been arrested on 110 charges including 64 drug trafficking charges and six perjury charges. Eleven of those have also been charged under Queensland’s Organised Crime Legislation section 161Q of the Penalties and Sentences Act ‘Knowingly being a Participant in a Criminal Organisation’.

Operations Manager and Officer in Charge of the Sunshine Coast Crime Group Detective Inspector David Drinnen said the arrests were the culmination of a 17-month protracted investigation.

“This is a very successful outcome for Sunshine Coast District detectives who have dismantled and disabled a highly organised, systematic and high-level crime group which has had a significant impact on drug supplies throughout South East Queensland.” Detective Inspector Drinnen said.

“Our specialist and highly trained group of investigators have never been backward in coming forward when targeting criminal gangs through their relentless pursuit of illegal activity, and it puts all criminal groups on notice.

“With this seizure of millions of dollars in cash, drugs, and other proceeds of crime, we’ve hit criminal groups where it hurts most – profit.”