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Five people charged and $1mil worth of drugs seized following ten search warrants in Sydney and Illawarra - Strike Force Mote

Thursday, 16 September 2021 12:40:44 AM

Five people have been charged following an ongoing investigation into an alleged large-scale drug syndicate operating between the Illawarra and Sydney.

In May 2020, officers attached to Lake Illawarra Police District established Strike Force Mote to investigate organised crime in the Illawarra region, with the assistance of the State Crime Command and the NSW Crime Commission.

Eight people have been arrested and charged in relation to the investigation and they remain before the courts.

It will be alleged $60,000 in cash was seized following a vehicle stop on Heathcote Road, Heathcote on Wednesday 14 July 2021, with almost half a kilogram of methamphetamine and more than 40g of heroin seized from a Toyota Hilux following a vehicle stop on Saturday 17 July on Glastonbury Avenue, Unanderra.

Following extensive investigations, Lake Illawarra Detectives and St George Police Area Command – with assistance from the NSW Crime Commission, Liverpool and Fairfield Police Area Commands, Bass Hill Region Enforcement Squad, Wollongong Police District, the State Crime Command’s Raptor Squad and the Dog Unit – executed ten search warrants at Brighton Le Sands, Arncliffe, Banksia, Rockdale, Condell Park, Greenacre, Potts Hill, Chipping Norton and Coniston, between Monday (13 September 2021) and yesterday (Wednesday 15 September 2021).

During these warrants, five people were arrested and approximately 1.5kg of methamphetamine, 340g of cocaine, heroin, two unauthorised prohibited pistols and approximately $100,000 in cash was seized.

In addition, police seized a Toyota Aurion and Mitsubishi Lancer from a premises on the Princes Highway at Arncliffe.

It will be alleged police located the methylamphetamine and a revolver pistol with ammunition in the Toyota, while a money counter was seized from the Mitsubishi.

The estimated potential street value of the drugs seized this week is $1mil. All items seized will undergo forensic examination.

Five people were arrested during this week’s operation and they have since been charged:

About 6.15pm Monday (13 September 2021), a 29-year-old man was arrested at a home in Francis Avenue, Brighton Le Sands. He was taken to Kogarah Police station, where he was charged with 16 offences:

- Two counts of supply prohibited drug large commercial quantity

- Supply prohibited drug commercial quantity

- Two counts of supply prohibited drug indictable quantity

- Two counts of possess unauthorised pistol

- Possess unauthorised prohibited firearm

- Three counts of acquire etc pistol - subject to firearms prohibition order

- Knowingly/recklessly direct criminal group assist crime

- Tamper with evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal

- Two counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime

- Recklessly deal with proceeds of crime

He appeared in Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday (14 September 2021).

A 36-year-old man was arrested at a home on The Horsley Drive, Fairfield, about 7am Tuesday (14 September 2021). He was taken to Fairfield Police Station and charged with six offences, including two counts of supply prohibited drug commercial quantity, participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime. He appeared in Fairfield Local Court yesterday (Wednesday 15 September 2021), where he was formally denied bail to appear in the same court today (Thursday 16 September 2021).

A 53-year-old man was arrested at a home at Carringal Street, Berkeley at 7am yesterday (Wednesday 15 September 2021). He was taken to Lake Illawarra Police Station where he was charged with five offences: two counts of take part supply prohibited drug – commercial quantity, two counts of participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, and deal with property proceeds of crime. Police will allege he was involved in the movement of methamphetamine and heroin between Sydney and the Illawarra. He was refused bail to appear in Wollongong Local Court today (Thursday 16 September 2021).

A 41-year-old woman was arrested at an address in Shearwater Drive, Berkeley at 7am yesterday (Wednesday 15 September 2021) and taken to Lake Illawarra Police Station. She was charged with six offences: three counts of supply prohibited drug commercial quantity, participate criminal group contribute criminal activity, and tamper with evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal. Police will allege in court she took part in the large commercial supply of methamphetamine. The woman was refused bail to appear in Wollongong Local Court today (Thursday 16 September 2021).

A 40-year-old man was arrested at a home at Jutland Avenue, Coniston, about 7.30am yesterday (Wednesday 15 September 2021). He was taken to Wollongong Police Station, where he was charged with seven offences including supply prohibited drug commercial quantity, take part supply prohibited drug large commercial quantity, and tamper with evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal. Police will allege he was involved in the movement of methamphetamine and heroin between Sydney and the Illawarra, and also attempted to dispose of illicit drugs down the toilet. He was refused bail to appear in Wollongong Local Court tomorrow (Friday 17 September 2021).

Investigations under Strike Force Mote continue, and further charges are expected to be laid.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Mote investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.