Thread: The Australian/NZ Drug Busts Mega-Thread Part Deux

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    Police believe Sydney navy base at the centre of suspected drug ring 
    Probe into alleged navy base drug ring
    Could be the most serious scandal to hit ADF
    Suspected ring involves "number of personnel"
    AUTHORITIES are investigating what is believed to be a large drug-trafficking ring being run by navy personnel out of Sydney's Garden Island naval base.
    The probe by NSW police and the Defence Department is believed to be focused on a core of sailors - potentially dozens - whom Defence believes are operating a lucrative drug distribution network from the Sydney Harbour base, which is the navy's main base in eastern Australia.

    If proved, it would be one of the most serious drug-related scandals to hit the Australian Defence Force, which has struggled to contain the use of illicit drugs in its ranks.
    A navy source yesterday said the issue was being treated seriously by the navy's top brass. "If these allegations are proved, then these people can kiss goodbye to their futures," the source said.
    A Defence spokesperson yesterday confirmed that the ADF Investigative Service was examining the allegations.

    "ADFIS is conducting an investigation into allegations involving navy personnel," the spokesperson said.

    "As these allegations remain under investigation, it is inappropriate to comment on the specific nature of these matters."
    The ADFIS is a tri-service body used only "for complex and major investigations" involving Defence members suspected of breaching the Defence Force Discipline Act.
    A spokesperson for NSW police yesterday confirmed that police were "conducting an investigation into alleged illegal activity by navy personnel at Garden Island."

    The suspected drug ring is believed to involve a "sizeable number of uniformed navy personnel" and according to one source, it has involved the sale of drugs to backpackers visiting Sydney.
    It is unclear how long the investigation has been going and what drugs are allegedly involved.
    No charges have been laid.

    Last edited by poledriver; 20-12-2010 at 21:14. Reason: mistake

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    Hope for family scarred by drug driver 
    Woman lost baby after being hit by drug driver
    Told she'd probably never carry another baby
    Thrilled at new pregnancy and driver's plea
    LAST Christmas was the darkest day in Brodie Donegan's life.
    Hit by a drug-affected driver while enjoying a morning walk, Ms Donegan lost her unborn daughter Zoe and was told she would probably never carry another child.
    But as the woman responsible for the collision, Justine Hampson, pleaded guilty yesterday in Wyong Local Court, in NSW's Central Coast, Ms Donegan revealed she was again pregnant.
    "I'm really happy we have some sort of closure coming up to Christmas," Ms Donegan, 29, said.
    Wearing pendants cast from Zoe's tiny hands and feet, Ms Donegan and fiance Nick Ball said they thought about her "every day" and regularly visited her grave with their first child Ashlee, 3.
    Ms Donegan was 32-weeks pregnant with Zoe - Greek for "life" - when she was struck metres from her Ourimbah driveway on the NSW Central Coast.

    An expert's statement obtained by police from Dr William Allender said methadone and a cocktail of five other prescription drugs in Hampson's system would have impaired her ability to drive.
    Hampson, 40, of Ourimbah, had a six-year-old child in her van and had overtaken another driver just before the collision.
    After months of adjournments Ms Donegan and Mr Ball said yesterday they were relieved by Hampson's guilty plea to charges of driving under the influence of drugs and dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.
    Now 28-weeks pregnant, they are looking forward to the birth of their new child but said Ms Donegan's severe injuries meant she faced a complicated and nervous pregnancy.

    "It's not going to be the best time of year for us right about now but it's good to get some closure," Mr Ball said.
    The couple said they would continue to raise money for Royal North Shore Hospital and other charities in Zoe's name.
    "Every day you see babies that would be about the same age and you think if life had continued on along a different path that would be us," Ms Donegan said.
    "I'm glad she pleaded guilty because it will be a less drawn-out process.
    "It is good to know she does feel some remorse or at least accepts responsibility.
    "We're not necessarily going to get the justice for Zoe's life, I mean three or four years [jail] isn't really comparable to what her whole life would have been.
    "But we've just got to try and get some recognition for Zoe's life in other ways."
    Hampson will be sentenced in the District Court in February.

    From here

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    Young Shire Councillor charged with drug and firearms offences 
    The Mayor of Young, Stuart Freudenstein says he is shocked and disappointed one of the shire's councillors has been charged in connection with the discovery of drugs and firearms.

    John Laybutt was arrested in Young on Friday night for traffic offences.

    Police say amphetamines were found in his vehicle and in a subsequent search of his house, it is alleged ectasy, a range of guns, ammunition and fireworks were also discovered.

    Councillor Freudenstein says the news came as a surpirse.

    "A shock, disbelief, disappointment all those words," he said.

    "Anyway, council will be continuing on as business as usual and we naturally hope and I'm sure John Laybutt would be too, that it's resolved as soon as possible so people know where they stand and it doesn't drag on any longer than neccessary."

    Mr Laybutt will be able to continue to serve on the council, despite being charged.

    Councillor Freudenstein says there's no need for the councillor to step down from his civic role.

    "My understanding of the Act is he can continue as long as he like through the legal process until if and when he's found guilty or convicted and sentenced, if that happens.

    "So until then he can still continue on as a councillor and if he wishses to along the way he can resign like any other councillor can."

    Councillor Laybutt is on conditional bail and is due to face the Young Local Court today.


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    Hard drugs 'not mine': court 
    A former southern Tasmanian footballer has told the Magistrates Court in Hobart a quantity of hard drugs found at his home were not his.

    37 year old Justin Richard Maynard has taken the stand to plead not guilty to a number of drug charges relating to a raid on his Rokeby home in August last year.

    Police say they found four packages containing methylamphetamines, known on the street as speed, hidden in the tubing of a pool ladder.

    They also allege Maynard had $30,000 cash in his possession when he was arrested.

    Maynard today told the court his parents lent him the money to set up a garden maintenance business.

    He said he had been meaning to take the cash to the bank, but he kept getting there after closing.

    Maynard insisted the drugs were not his and he would take responsibility for them if they were.


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    Police find steroids in raid on Sydney naval base 
    Steroids have been found in a police raid on Sydney's Garden Island naval base.

    Defence has confirmed an intensive investigation is underway after details of a drug trafficking ring operating at the high profile, inner-city base was reported today.

    The Department of Defence said its investigative arm, Australian Defence Force Investigative Service, led the raid along with civilian police.

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    "It is too early in the investigation to confirm the nature of all of the substances seized to date, though it can be confirmed that steroids were found," Defence said in a statement.

    "A range of substances and other items were seized and a number of defence personnel were tested for prohibited substance use.

    "Investigations remain ongoing and it would be inappropriate for Defence to provide further comment until these investigations are completed."


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    Ice worth $14 million found in Sydney 
    Police have charged a Malaysian man after uncovering more than $14 million worth of the drug 'ice' in Sydney's south.

    The AFP found 90 kilograms of the drug and $400,000 in cash during raids yesterday.

    The 35-year-old is facing two charges of drug possession and one charge of dealing in the proceeds of crime.

    He will face Sydney Central Local Court today.


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    UPDATE and PICS.....

    FEDERAL police have seized 90kg of the drug "ice" and almost $500,000 in cash in Sydney's southwest.

    The drug, also known as crystal meth, is said to be worth $14.4 million.

    A 35-year-old Malaysian man has been charged over the find and will be appearing at Sydney's Central Local Court on Wednesday.

    Detectives arrested the man on Tuesday after a surveillance operation in the inner west suburb of Strathfield and seized about $300,000.

    A subsequent search of the man's property in Blairmount near Campbelltown uncovered the drugs and a further $120,000.

    Federal police are due to address the media about the find on Wednesday.

    The Malaysian man faces charges of dealing in the proceeds of crime and drug possession offences.

    The daily Telegraph

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    More than 300 arrests in crime crackdown 
    West Australian police have seized nearly 30 kilograms of drugs and shut down a dozen clandestine drug laboratories during a month-long crackdown on organised crime.

    Operation Unification started in November with a national 'phone in' day, when the public was encouraged to call police with information about drug dealers.

    Officers say the hotline recieved more than 900 phone calls.

    The Assistant Commissioner, Nick Anticich, says police made more than 300 arrests and seized 23 guns and $140,000.

    from here

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    Public tip off leads to drugs seizure 
    Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Anticich says a tip off has led to the seizure of five kgms of amphetamines in Western Australia.

    The haul was part of Operation Unification, a national month-long crackdown on organised crime.

    Across the country, police made more than 300 arrests, seized nearly 30 kgs of drugs, shut down 12 illegal drug labs and seized 23 guns and $140,000.

    The operation started in November with a national 'phone in' day, when the public was encouraged to call police with information about drug dealers.

    Police recieved more than 900 calls during the phone-in.

    Mr Anticich says the success of the operation highlights the importance of information from the public.

    "What was a very small piece of information, but nonetheless linked with other intelligence and ultimately led to that [drug] seizure," he said.


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    Newcastle men admit role in major drug syndicate 
    Two Newcastle men will be sentenced next year after admitting their involvement in a major Hunter Valley drug network.

    22-year-old Ashley Novotny and 27-year-old Natt Thornburn were among more than 20 people charged by detectives from Strikeforce Sloman.

    They have admitted to being part of a drug syndicate that supplied tens of thousands of ecstasy tablets across the Hunter region last year.

    In Newcastle Local Court yesterday Novotny pleaded guilty to two charges of supplying a large commercial quantity of a prohibited drug and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.

    Thornburn pleaded guilty to three charges of supplying an indictable quantity of a prohibited drug.

    They will be sentenced in Newcastle District Court on February 3, 2011.

    The Court was told another alleged co-offender Alex Thornton was unable to appear because he remains on life support in hospital.


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    Cannabis plants seized in drug busts 
    Police have seized cannabis plants and other drugs in separate raids at Morwell in the Latrobe Valley.

    Detectives searched a Comans Street property last week and found cannabis plants growing indoors.

    A 31-year-old woman was arrested and will be charged on summons with cultivating cannabis.

    Police also raided a house in Helen Street and arrested a 72-year-old man.

    The man will be charged on summons with trafficking a drug of dependence.


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    Navy chief issues drug warning to sailors 
    The Chief of Navy has written an open letter to Navy personnel addressing the recent exposure of an alleged drug ring at Sydney's Garden Island Naval Base.

    Defence has confirmed Navy personnel are being investigated over the alleged use and supply of steroids, while an anonymous source has told the ABC that sailors are also trafficking heroin and cocaine.

    In a post on the Navy's official Facebook page, Vice Admiral Russ Crane urged personnel to report any drug use or trafficking.

    He says the Navy tests a minimum of 25 per cent of its workforce each year.

    "The use and trafficking of drugs can have devastating consequences - both for the individual concerned and for those around them," he said.

    "They end relationships, careers and eventually they end lives.

    "Members of all ranks are educated and counselled regularly about the dangers of illegal substances."

    Vice Admiral Crane warned there would be dire consequences for anybody who broke the Navy's zero-tolerance policy on drugs.

    He says there has been a significant reduction in positive test results over the past year.

    "Those who choose to flaunt [Navy] values for personal gain ... will be dealt with and held accountable for their actions in both civil and military tribunals," he said.

    Vice Admiral Crane says the Navy goes to great lengths to ensure its ships are not being used to carry illegal contraband.

    "There have been a number of operations where sniffer dogs have been called upon and they are just one of several methods Customs use," he said.

    "Navy works pro-actively with law enforcement authorities in all states as well as Customs on a regular basis."

    The Navy insider told the ABC of claims that the drug ring had been operating for years.

    "[For] 99.9 per cent of the time, Customs don't bring [sniffer] dogs onto the ship ... and dogs can't get down into certain parts of the ships," the source said earlier this week.

    They also said naval ships that recently took part in the Pacific Rim war games in Hawaii returned with packages of drugs that were bound for Sydney's red light district.

    The source, a sailor, says more than 30 people on one ship alone have tested positive to using drugs.

    They claim the drug ring infiltrates all ranks of the Navy's sailors.

    "It's junior sailors, it's senior sailors. That's why no-one will talk to you," the source said.

    from here

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    Police arrest four in relation to drug ring 
    New South Wales Police have arrested four Goulburn men in connection with an alleged drug ring.

    Police searched two homes at Goulburn and Yarra on the outskirts of the city this morning.

    They seized items including an unregistered firearm, ammunition, cannabis and an air rifle.

    Police allege a 71-year-old man and his 36-year-old son were involved in the supply of $100,000 worth of speed over a nine-month period.

    Two of the four men faced Goulburn Court today.

    They were refused bail and will face court again in February.


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    [NZ] Grandmother arrested in Rotorua police drug bust 
    A 52-year-old grandmother was one of 17 arrested following a series of drug busts by Rotorua police.

    Police executing 10 search warrants at several Rotorua "tinnie houses" in the past week found drugs and stolen property.

    Those arrested face more than 150 charges between them, including the possession and supply of methamphetamine, cannabis and cannabis oil.

    Rotorua Detective Sergeant Ryan Yardley put the operation's success down to information police received from locals concerned about criminal activity in their neighbourhoods.

    "This operation has demonstrated that Rotorua communities have had enough and they are taking action to do something about it. They are to be commended for coming forward," he said.

    It was "particularly disappointing and disturbing" for police to find children at some of the homes involved in the drug sting, Mr Yardley said.

    "Due to the activities of those around them, they have been exposed to the day to day world of drug dealing. This is not okay."

    The children had been referred to Child, Youth and Family.

    - NZPA

    NZ Herald

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    Drug bust triggers trafficking charges 
    A 31-year-old man has been charged with drug trafficking and a number of other offences, after police raided a business on Queensland's Gold Coast.

    Police allegedly seized hydroponic cannabis plants and other equipment from the Southport premises yesterday.

    A man from Varsity Lakes has been charged with trafficking, supplying, producing and possessing dangerous drugs, as well as two property and drug utensil offences.

    He is due to appear in the Southport Magistrates Court today.

    from here

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    [NZ] P and cannabis dealer jailed for three years 
    A Whangarei man caught dealing methamphetamine and cannabis has been jailed for three years.

    Home detention was rejected as an option for Lawrence Fenton when he appeared for sentencing in the Whangarei District Court on 49 drugs charges.

    They included two of supplying methamphetamine or P, nine of conspiracy to supply P, two of conspiracy to supply P with a co-accused, 33 of offering to supply P and three charges of offering to supply cannabis.

    About 13g of methamphetamine worth $12,000 was involved.

    Crown prosecutor David Stevens told the court Fenton, 36, had 62 previous convictions, including 10 in the Youth Court.

    Fenton's lawyer, Richard Garbett, said guilty pleas were entered at the first opportunity, and home detention with conditions would be an appropriate penalty.

    He told Judge Jan Bouchier Fenton had $18,315 in fines which he could not pay.

    Judge Bouchier ruled out home detention, saying drugs could be sold via text messages while serving a non-custodial sentence.

    She sentenced Fenton to three years' jail on the methamphetamine charges and a concurrent term of nine months for offering to supply cannabis.

    NZ Herald

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    Woman found at Sydney Airport with cocaine 
    AN American woman who was travelling with her two children has allegedly been caught with cocaine at Sydney Airport.

    The 44-year-old woman was stopped by Customs and Border Protection officers who say about 1.5 to 2kg of cocaine was hidden in the lining of her suitcase - offending that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and/or an $825,000 fine.

    The officers stopped the woman and her two children and X-rayed their suitcases when they arrived at Sydney International Airport on a flight from Miami via San Francisco yesterday.

    The woman was charged by the Australian Federal Police with procuring children for importing or exporting marketable quantities of border controlled drugs or border controlled plants - the maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment and/or a $825,000 fine.

    She was also charged with importing a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely cocaine.

    The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment and/or a $550,000 fine.

    Her arrest followed the seizure of 2.5kg of cocaine and the arrest of a 23-year-old woman by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement yesterday in Miami.

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    Alleged Australian drug lord arrested in Turkey 
    An alleged Australian drug lord has been arrested in the Turkish part of Cyprus.

    Warrants were issued for Hakan Ayik after an Australian Crime Commission investigation into drug importations of ice, heroin and ecstasy into Sydney and Melbourne.

    Ayik, who was raised in Sydney and has a Turkish background, is closely connected to a Sydney bikie gang is a fitness fanatic and a bar and brothel owner.

    He fled Australia in August when New South Wales Police issued a warrant for his arrest.

    He evaded capture in Cyprus a month ago, but he has now been arrested in Kyrenia by Turkish Cypriot police who say they have seized drug weighing equipment.

    It not yet clear wether Australian warrants can be exercised there.


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    House fire reveals cannabis crop 
    Emergency crews responding to a house fire at Werribee in Melbourne's west have found cannabis being grown at the premises.

    The Country Fire Authority says a hydroponic set up was found at the Egert Court house while crews were trying to put out the fire on Saturday evening.

    No-one was home when the crews arrived.

    Police have seized 18 mature cannabis plants from the property and are investigating the incident.


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    Men charged with drug trafficking 
    Two men have been charged with drug trafficking and possession near Queensland's Sunshine Coast .

    Police searched two cars near Tanawha, west of Moloolaba, overnight and found cannabis and cash.


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    Extra jail for Qantas drug breach 
    A QANTAS employee who abused her trusted position to help import drugs will spend an extra year in jail after her sentence was increased on appeal.

    The need for general deterrence was relevant in Anne Nikolovska's case because of her breach of trust, the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled.

    ''She had a security clearance,'' Justice David Kirby said. ''She was trusted. She knew the system. That knowledge and that trust was valuable to an importer. Ms Nikolovska traded that advantage for money.''

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    Nikolovska, a controls analyst at the airline's Sydney Distribution Centre at Mascot, had worked for Qantas for 27 years. Her security clearance gave her access to imported goods held in a secure area.

    In 2007 a former colleague at the airline, Wagih Nakhla, asked her to intercept a package from Africa.

    Nikolovska agreed to deliver him the package, for a $10,000 fee. But customs, acting on a tip-off from the federal police, got to the package first - and found it contained almost two kilograms of cocaine.

    The parcel was delivered as part of a controlled operation and ended up on someone else's desk. Police were tapping the phones when Nikolovska called Nakhla to tell him: ''Hey, we're in strife.'' She was arrested within hours. She and Nakhla both pleaded guilty to importing a marketable quantity of cocaine. Nakhla was jailed for at least five years and nine months.

    In the District Court last year Judge John Nicholson jailed Nikolovska for up to six years, to serve a minimum three years and nine months, saying she knew drugs would be imported.

    However, the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed the sentence. Agreeing with the Crown that the sentence was too light, the appeal judges added a year to her non-parole period and another 18 months to her maximum term.

    Nikolovska will be eligible for parole in 2012.


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    Police target drugs at Falls music festival 
    Sniffer dogs will attend Tasmania's biggest music festival as part of a police crackdown on alcohol and drug abuse.

    About 16,000 concert-goers are expected to attend the three-day Falls Festival at Marion Bay in the state's south-east.

    Inspector Glenn Keating says the event will be patrolled by more than 100 officers in uniform and plain clothes.

    "We'll have drug investigation services police there and the drug detection dogs," Inspector Keating said.

    Police have also warned of slow traffic on roads into and out of the site.

    "There will be random breath testing conducted at the end of the event," Inspector Keating said. "It will not be every vehicle stopped but there will be cars pulled off into a paddock area for that purpose."


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    Three arrested in $150k drug bust 
    Police believe they have made a significant dent in the availability of illegal drugs this New Year's Eve, after seizing $150,000 worth of drugs in north-west Sydney.

    Police raided two homes in Castle Hill and Galston yesterday seizing 3,000 pills believed to be ecstasy tablets, $17,000 in cash, and several vials of steroids.

    A 20-year-old man and his 18-year-old girlfriend have been arrested.

    They have been charged with more than 13 drug offences including dealing in the proceeds of crime.

    The pair has been refused bail and are due to face Parramatta Local Court today.

    A third man has also been arrested and is assisting police with their inquiries.

    Officers say yesterday's arrests were part of a seven-month long investigation into the supply of drugs in the north-west region.


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    [update and pics] 3000 pills seized as police smash drug ring 
    POLICE have seized about 3000 pills believed to be ecstasy, denting supplies of the illicit drug for New Year's Eve.

    Mehran Dorrani, 20, from Castle Hill, was arrested with his 18-year-old girlfriend on Wednesday following a seven-month investigation.

    Dorrani, a chemistry student at Macquarie University, is accused of being the mastermind behind a supply scheme that imported powder from the US then manufactured pills for sale on the local market.

    Police raided his unit on Wednesday and seized more than $17,000 cash, a quantity of ecstasy pills and a large amount of the powder.

    A second search warrant was executed on a Galston residence on Wednesday night. Police charged a 23-year-old man with drug supply offences and seized a large quantity of drugs.

    Dorrani was charged with 13 drug offences and was refused bail.

    from here

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    Police arrest 59 people at Syummerdayze 
    VICTORIAN police were disappointed that 59 drug-related arrests were made at Melbourne's Summerdayze annual dance party.

    The arrests, made using a police-dog operation at the New Year's Day event, led to 51 people being referred to a drug diversion program and eight people being interviewed in relation to trafficking.

    Drugs seized at the Myer Music Bowl venue included ecstasy, amphetamines and cannabis.

    Senior Sergeant Donald Brown of the Melbourne Divisional Response Unit said police were disappointed by the number of drug offences detected.

    "There is this idea with some young people that taking drugs enhances their day out, but in reality they are putting their lives at risk by taking illegal drugs," he said.

    "People need to be aware that there is no such thing as a safe party drug."

    "There are heavy penalties associated with drug use and trafficking and a drug conviction is a black mark against your name that can never be removed."

    Sen-Sgt Brown said the dog operation was about harm minimisation, preventing overdoses and nabbing drug traffickers.


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