Crime gangs using border bubble to move drugs

 

DRUG runners are using the Gold Coast border bubble to game the system and bring their illegal substances to Queensland.

Crime syndicates south of the border are using and abusing the Tweed/Gold Coast bubble to move their drugs to meet supply in the sunshine state, the Bulletin can reveal. Queensland has far more relaxed coronavirus regulations compared to Victoria and New South Wales.

Police performing duties at the state border checkpoint in Coolangatta in May located a large quantity of cannabis concealed within a pantech truck attempting to enter Queensland. The drugs located have a street value of approximately $400,000.
Police performing duties at the state border checkpoint in Coolangatta in May located a large quantity of cannabis concealed within a pantech truck attempting to enter Queensland. The drugs located have a street value of approximately $400,000.

The problem is so concerning police have deployed specialist officers at border patrols to try and intercept the illegal drug running.

It's understood the gangs are running the drugs along the nation's highways into the Tweed Heads side of the bubble, before engaging the help of those who live within the bubble to continue its movement north into Queensland.

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Police are catching some of the product through intelligence-led investigations, although it's understood drug runners are heading north at a faster rate, fearing a hard border closure could dry up supply in Queensland.

Once in Queensland the drugs are then moved throughout the state to meet supply.

Sources have told The Bulletin the random checks at the border are catching some of it, but only a fraction of what they believe to be a decent sized market.

Officers from the crack Rapid Action Patrol group, who have been used to target bikies, have been deployed to the border in a tactic to help catch the drug runners.

 

Drugs, gun and ammunition found in car boot at Tugun Queensland border checkpoint. Photo: Queensland Police
Drugs, gun and ammunition found in car boot at Tugun Queensland border checkpoint. Photo: Queensland Police

 

A number of people earlier in the year had already been caught trying to smuggle drugs into the state, including a man with 93kgs of cannabis and another man with 45kgs of cannabis.

Those two instances relate to alleged importations prior to the bubble being established, with no claim they were linked to crimina syndicates.

Gold Coast Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler said police were aware criminals were trying this now the bubble has been established and had placed specialist officers on the border to try and catch them.

 

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"We're aware that people will try this and we don't just have police down there to stop COVID-19 coming into Queensland, police are also there to stop criminal offences including drug supply and trafficking offences," Supt Wheeler said.

"It's invaluable having specialist officers like the RAP squad there, we've already put their skills to great use on the border.

A man and a woman have been charged after a firearm, ammunition and drugs were allegedly found in a car at the border checkpoint in Tugun on July 22.
A man and a woman have been charged after a firearm, ammunition and drugs were allegedly found in a car at the border checkpoint in Tugun on July 22.

"We know that our road networks are used to commit criminal offences. Of course when we shut roads down, or significantly restrict the flow of traffic that then creates unintended consequences and one of those is criminals have difficulty moving around.

"Their movement is restricted, which means they will try and find other ways to commit offences, which we take into consideration constantly."

 

If you have any information about drug crime on the Gold Coast contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Originally published as Crime gangs using border bubble to move drugs



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