Aussie drug syndicate with Thai links busted
An international drug smuggling syndicate has been smashed after Queensland police intercepted a plane loaded with cash and cannabis.
Officers found $1 million in cash and drugs with an estimated street value of $3.5 million when the light aircraft landed at Redcliffe Airport on Monday.
Detectives arrested three men before simultaneously raiding homes and storage sheds across Brisbane, seizing another 50kg of cannabis and $1.5 million in cash.
Officers arrested a further 11 men who are allegedly part of a drug syndicate operating in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and the Northern Territory.
“It was quite a sophisticated drug network,” Detective Senior Sergeant Ken Rogers told reporters on Wednesday.
“They all used cipher phones. They used Redcliffe Airport. They also used Archerfield (airport) and vehicles.
“There are links to Thailand but at this stage that part of the investigation is ongoing.”
A forensic police accounts team is also examining documents found at the properties with further arrests expected.
“This isn’t the end. It is in fact the beginning,” Det Snr Sgt Rogers said.
The 14 men, aged from 25 to 60, have been charged with 144 offences, including trafficking in dangerous drugs, serious organised crime, receive or possess property obtained from trafficking.
Detectives found $1 million of that in two boxes in the rear section of the plane that landed at Redcliffe on Monday with two men on board.
Five large sports bags containing 120 kg cannabis in Cryovac packaging was found in a four-wheel-drive driven by a third man, who met the plane on the tarmac.
“Drugs of this magnitude being taken off the streets of Queensland and the ill-gotten gains taken out of the hands of these criminals makes Queensland a safer place for us all to live in,” Det Snr Sgt Rogers said.
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