CENTRAL WEST, NSW, Australia - A massive national and state law enforcement operation has taken place over the New South Wales Central West on Wednesday which has resulted in the dismantlement of a state-wide drug supply syndicate.
The operation began around 6:00am Wednesday when Strike Force Pinnacle detectives, with assistance of officers from across the Western Region, the Dog Unit, Public Order & Riot Squad, PolAir, the Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and the NSW Crime Commission executed search warrants at 10 properties in the state's central west.
Ten people were arrested, including seven men, aged 44, 34, 37 (two), 30, 29 & 28, and three women aged 35, 28 and 23.
Methylamphetamine, heroin, cannabis, large quantities of cash, three firearms, a taser, mobile phones, jewellery and seven motorbikes were seized in the raids.
Simultaneously, Strike Force Laverick detectives assisted by the Bass Hill Regional Enforcement Squad (RES), Dog Unit, Chemical Operations team and PolAir executed search warrants at five properties in in south western Sydney, where they arrested six men aged 53, 42, 39, 24 and two men aged 23.
Investigators located and seized ice, cannabis, cash, items and substances consistent with drug manufacture, a firearm and seven vehicles, including a taxi and a truck.
Wednesday's raids had their origins in February 2019, when detectives attached to the Western Region established Strike Force Pinnacle to investigate an ongoing large-scale drug supply network operating from Wellington, NSW.
Early inquiries revealed the syndicate was sourcing prohibited drugs mainly methylamphetamine (ice), but also MDMA and heroin from Sydney, and distributing them to regional towns across NSW.
Subsequently, in January this year, detectives attached to State Crime Command's Drug & Firearms Squad established Strike Force Laverick to investigate the syndicate's links in Sydney.
Earlier inquiries by Strike Force Pinnacle and Strike Force Laverick have resulted in 15 people being charged, a number of whom remain before the courts.
Prior to Wednesday's search warrants, inquiries have also resulted in the seizure of approximately 14kg of methylamphetamine with an estimated street value of $10.5 million, 2.4kg of heroin, 80 litres of GHB, 5.4kg of cannabis leaf, 550g of cocaine, 74 MDMA pills, 21 firearms and more than $215,000 in cash.
"Our investigation has now completely smashed this syndicate, netting not just low level distributors, but the 'kingpins' at the top," Western Region Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna said Wednesday.
"This is more than just your average drug bust."