War on drugs in Whitsundays
DRUGS will not be tolerated in Airlie Beach.
This is the message from Whitsunday Police and the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) who have executed a number of search warrants on local properties in relation to drug offences in recent weeks.
Whitsunday Police Acting Senior Sergeant Barry Haran said police would be increasing their activities in order to combat illicit drug activity in the Whitsunday area.
"Whilst drugs have always been in our area, we're learning more and more about them every day and we will do our best to stamp them out and keep them out of our area," Sgt Haran said.
"We will act on information given, once it's proven to be correct [and] we re-iterate that drugs will not be tolerated in the Whitsunday region," he said.
The first of the year's drug busts occurred on New Year's Day, when detectives from Whitsunday CIB executed a search warrant at an Airlie Crescent address. This resulted in police allegations that a large sum of cash, 26g of cocaine, 246 amphetamine tablets, drug utensils and anabolic steroids were found. Three men, including a 40-year-old senior member of the Finks Gold Coast motorcycle chapter, were arrested and charged with drug-related offences. The matters were heard in the Proserpine Magistrate's Court yesterday (see page 3).
Further to this, police executed four search warrants in the Whitsundays on Monday, as a part of Operation Mackay Pendulum.
Sgt Haran said the operation resulted in the seizing of about 170g of cannabis and several drug-related utensils.
Two men were charged with a total of four offences, including possession of fireworks. It is expected that follow-up investigations will result in more people being charged with the supply of dangerous drugs.
Acting on information from members of the public, police also attended a property on Shute Harbour Road in Cannonvale last Thursday morning.
Three men were arrested and several items indicating possible drug production were found.
Sgt Haran said due to the volatility of the suspected substances, police withdrew and set up a cordon, containing the area.
Specialist drug squad officers from Brisbane were contacted to attend. Police continued to guard the Shute Harbour Road scene while drug squad officers conducted their examination. Several items of interest were seized and further charges were laid.
Sgt Haran said the drug squad alleged finding a 'pop-up lab', which was a portable device, believed to have been used in the production of methylamphetamine. This was the second clandestine drug lab to have been found in the Mackay-Whitsunday region in one week, following the execution of a search warrant at a Beaconsfield address on Sunday, January 6.
The three men arrested at the Shute Harbour Road address were later bailed and will appear before the Proserpine Magistrates Court next month.