61 charged with 167 offences in Qld criminal gang crackdown

A SERIES of raids and road policing operations across central and northern Queensland have uncovered a mixture of drugs, weapons, ammunition and explosives, cash, a stolen generator and drug paraphernalia. 

Police from all over Queensland including the Wide Bay Burnett, Capricornia and Mackay districts were deployed as part of Task Force Maxima, an ongoing action against criminal gangs and their networks.

This deployment which occurred from June 2 to June 9, saw the execution of search warrants at addresses in Monkland, Bundaberg, Bucca, Avoca, Koongal, Emerald, Cannonvale, Flametree, Bowen, Mackay, Blackriver, Kirwan, Alligator Creek, Townsville, Oonoonba, Mt Low, Mossman, Miallo, Cooktown, Atherton, Cairns, Smithfield, Cloncurry, Normanton, Esk, Mitchell, Injune and Roma.

The searches resulted in the location of dangerous drugs including methyl-amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis, steroids, weapons, ammunition and a quantity explosives (black powder), $1000 in cash, a stolen generator (valued at $17,000) and drug paraphernalia.

Police also located a cannabis crop in the Cooktown area consisting of over two hundred plants and approximately 2kg of packaged cannabis alleged to be operated by Neo-Nazi supporters.

As a result, 61 people had enforcement action taken in relation to 167 charges including supply, possession and production of dangerous drugs, unlawful possession of weapons (rifles, semi-automatic rifle, telescopic baton and knuckledusters), possession of proceeds of crime, stealing, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlicensed tattooist operating a business.

The deployment included members of Taskforce Maxima Road Policing Unit which targets life-endangering behaviour. As a result, enforcement was taken against 42 people on 52 offences including 18 drug drivers and 14 disqualified / unlicensed drivers.

Detective Inspector Brendan Smith of Task Force Maxima said the deployment had seen the taskforce work with regional police to target the unlawful activities of criminal gangs and their networks.

"As evident by these efforts, we will conduct operations wherever these gangs operate," Detective Inspector Brendan Smith.

"The links between these gangs and illegal drug distribution is clear, as is the link between illegal drugs and property crime."

Detective Acting Superintendent Bruno Asnicar, Regional Crime Coordinator - Northern Region said the implementation of a dedicated criminal gang team in the Far North has greatly enhanced the intelligence driven targeting of criminal gangs in this district.

"By working in cooperation with Task Force Maxima we have achieved a sustained pressure on this type of criminal activity in our community," Detective Acting Superintendent Asnicar said.

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