Drug king pins recruit elderly as smugglers
SENIOR citizens are being recruited by southern drug lords to import huge amounts of drugs into the state.
But inter-agency collaborations and protracted investigations have proven there is no escape from law enforcement in Queensland.
The discovery of more than $1 million of marijuana secreted away under a false bottom of an inconspicuous ute was the culmination of eight months of police investigations across three states.
Police intercepted the ute with a 66-year-old driver and female passenger on the Warrego Hwy at Withcott on June 4.
A search of the vehicle allegedly located more than $5000 in cash and a sophisticated hydraulic-operated false cavity welded into the rear of the ute.
Investigators allege they found more than 200 cryovac bags with about 450g of cannabis inside each.
It adds up to more than 90kg of marijuana which police estimate to have a street value of $1 million.
The discovery led to further investigations resulting in a Gold Coast man, 66, being arrested on a range of drug offences.
The ute is believed to have been driven from South Australia with the drugs destined for Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast areas.
Detective Inspector Lance Vercoe of the Drug and Serious Crime Group said while trafficking mass quantities of drugs on Darling Downs roads wasn't new, the elaborate hiding method and the use of a senior citizen as the courier was indicative of evolving drug smuggling methods.
He said the modified ute was not believed to be part of a fleet.
"We will allege he (66-year-old) was the driver and was recruited to bring the drugs into Queensland," he said.
Det. Insp. Vercoe said drug traffickers were beginning to recruit older people for their ability to go undetected and unsuspected by police.
"They are looking for someone who doesn't stand out or look out of place," he said.
"In association with our interstate partners we will continue to target these networks.
"The Queensland Police Service is committed to reducing the negative impacts of dangerous drugs on our community and we will continue to dismantle these networks."