Police from three states have arrested five men following an extensive cross-border joint investigation into the supply of drugs and firearms.
In January 2020, NSW detectives established Strike Force Ranson to investigate the importation, manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs and the supply of prohibited weapons in Northern NSW and south-east Queensland.
Following extensive investigations, strike force investigators raided properties in Lismore and Ballina on Tuesday morning. During these searches they allegedly located and seized large quantities of amphetamines, as well as cash and what have been described as ‘military grade’ weapons.
A 28-year-old man was arrested at Ballina and taken to Lismore Police Station and charged with several offences, including supplying large commercial quantities of a prohibited drug, manufacturing large commercial quantities of a prohibited drug, supplying illegal firearms and ammunition, and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
He was refused bail and will appear at Lismore Local Court on Wednesday 24 June.
More raids take place in Victoria and Queensland
As part of the joint cross-border raids, Queensland police executed three search warrants at homes in Highland Park, Mudgeeraba and Ashmore, where they arrested two men aged 27 (Highland Park) and 36 (Mudgeeraba). Detectives also located and seized firearms and a pill press used in the manufacture of drugs.
Additionally, Victoria Police also executed two search warrants at homes in Abbotsford and Balaclava. A 27-year-old man was arrested at the Abbotsford property and a second 27-year-old man at a property in Surrey Hills. During these searches, police located and seized an amount of cash.
Those arrested are part of a large-scale criminal operation
Speaking during a media briefing at Lismore Police Station, Acting Superintendent Cameron Lindsay said police would allege those arrested were part of a large-scale operation involving the manufacture and supply of MDMA and methylamphetamine.
“We are talking about a large commercial supply,” he said. “So we’re at the top end of this syndicate, we believe.
“We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of drugs moving across borders and into this area.”
Investigations under Strike Force Ranson are ongoing.