Organised Crime Squad detectives have charged 11 people - including five people from Liverpool - and seized $3 million worth of prohibited drugs as part of investigations into an alleged Sydney-based organised crime syndicate.
In July 2019, the State Crime Command's Organised Crime Squad and the NSW Crime Commission established Strike Force Riche to investigate a criminal syndicate involved in cannabis cultivation and money laundering.
Their inquiries uncovered a network operating multiple hydro houses in residential areas across south-west Sydney, and it will be alleged in court that the syndicate cultivated and supplied large commercial quantities of cannabis in NSW and interstate.
During the course of the investigation, a Kia Carnival - with six occupants including two children - was stopped on the Pacific Highway, Heatherbrae, about 11pm on Friday, December 20 2019.
During a search of the vehicle, police located a total of 71kg of cannabis packed in various bags. Two bags - containing a total of 1kg of methylamphetamine - were also seized. The combined estimated potential street value of the drugs is $716,000.
A 41-year-old man was arrested and taken to Raymond Terrace Police Station, where he was charged with supplying a prohibited drug (large commercial quantity) and supplying prohibited drug (commercial quantity).
The man from Forest Lake in Queensland, who is now 42, was refused bail and appeared at Newcastle Local Court on Saturday, December 21, where he was formally refused bail and is next due to appear at Raymond Terrace Local Court on April 27.
As part of ongoing investigations, officers from the North West Region Enforcement Squad executed a search warrant at a home on Vardys Road, Blacktown, on Wednesday, February 5, where they located an elaborate hydroponic set-up and seized 152 cannabis plants.
Acting on information received by strike force detectives, a 24-year-old man from Liverpool, NSW, was arrested by Queensland Police Service officers at Brisbane Domestic Airport on February 19. Police allegedly found more than $175,000 in his possession.
Later the same day, a search warrant was executed at a home at Chuwar, Queensland, where police seized 45kg of cannabis, methylamphetamine, more than $114,000 cash and arrested a 50-year-old man at the home.
Both men have been charged and remain before the courts in Queensland.
Following further inquiries, strike force detectives, assisted by Bass Hill and North West Region Enforcement Squads, executed seven search warrants at residential units and a storage unit in Liverpool, Bankstown and Lansvale and four crime scene warrants at homes in Revesby, Punchbowl and Yagoona from 7am yesterday (Wednesday, March 25).
During the searches, police seized a total of 456 cannabis plants, 22kg of cannabis head and $330,000 cash.
The total estimated potential street value of the drugs seized in this investigation is more than $3 million.
Eight people - including six men and two women - who are all Vietnamese Nationals were arrested during yesterday's operation and charged with a range of offences.
A 52-year-old Liverpool man was charged with supplying prohibited drugs (large commercial quantity), two counts of taking part in supplying a prohibited drug (commercial quantity), supplying a prohibited drug (indictable quantity), knowingly directing the activities of criminal group, and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.
Police will allege in court that the man directed the activities of the other syndicate members who supplied a total of 587kg of cannabis between October 2019 and March 2020.
The 38-year-old Liverpool woman was charged with taking part in supplying prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), two counts of taking part in supplying prohibited drugs (commercial quantity), taking part in cultivating cannabis, taking part in supplying a prohibited drug (indictable quantity), knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime and participating in a criminal group contributing criminal activity.
Police will allege in court that the woman was a senior member of the syndicate and assisted in harvesting and packing the crops for supply.
The 24-year-old Liverpool man was charged with take part supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), take part supply prohibited drug (commercial quantity), knowingly deal with proceeds of crime, and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.
Police will allege in court that the man was involved in the transportation of hydroponic equipment and supplying large commercial quantities of cannabis.
A 20-year-old Liverpool man and a 21-year-old Liverpool woman were also charged supplying prohibited drugs and participating in a criminal group contributing to criminal activity.
They were all refused bail to appear at Liverpool Local Court today (Thursday, March 26).
Investigations under Strike Force Riche are continuing.
Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Riche investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000.