State and federal police have warned that criminals should not believe they can use essential worker status to smuggle drugs across state borders during the pandemic.
This follows the arrest of an interstate truck driver and two other people in Adelaide with a drugs haul estimated to be worth $1.5-million.
SA Police and Australian Federal Police say they will allege that the interstate truckie planned to use his privileged status to distribute drugs in various parts of Australia during the lockdown.
Criminals cannot exploit this global crisis
“Criminals should not think they can exploit this global crisis. These arrests and seizures show that we are one step ahead and will continue disrupting criminal ventures and put people before the courts”, said AFP Superintendent Gail McClure.
“Criminal networks are constantly looking for ways to flout the laws for their own greed and profits and the COVID-19 border restrictions are no exception.”
She added: “The AFP works closely with the South Australia Police and other partner agencies to stop illicit drugs from reaching the community and causing harm.”
Haul equates to more than 53 000 deals
Police have recovered just under 160kg of cannabis, 0.5 kg of cocaine and around $45 000 in cash during the arrest of the three men.
They face charges of trafficking a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug, trafficking “in a commercial quantity, and money laundering.
“The cannabis seizure equates to about 53 000 street deals valued at about $1,32-million and 500gm of cocaine equates to 500 street deals valued at about $175 000, “ SA Police said in a statement.
Arrests and seizures in three separate raids
The arrests and seizures were made at three separate addresses in various parts of Adelaide on Tuesday.
At around midday detectives went to an address in Port Adelaide, where they seized the drugs and $20 000 in cash. A 52-year-old man from Mount Compass in country South Australia was arrested at the scene.
Detectives then conducted a further search at an address in the suburb of Urrbrae, where they arrested a 43-year-old man after uncovering evidence linking him to the seizures made in Port Adelaide.
Detectives also searched a property at Evanston Park where they arrested a 37-year-old man after locating a further $25 000 in cash and evidence linking him to the Port Adelaide crime scene.
Another cross-border seizure in early July
In early July, police in Adelaide seized cannabis worth an estimated $6-millio, which they said was partially intended for interstate customers.
“There’s evidence to indicate that drugs have been going across the border. They use all sorts of routes,” a police spokesperson said at the time.
“Certainly COVID has had some impact in the way the crime syndicates conduct their business model, [but] they’re always constantly evolving.”