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|Posted by: Charles Dec 23 2017, 11:49 AM|
| Dreams of drugs riches blown as armed police swarm the marina
Grant Taylor and Gabrielle Knowles
Saturday, 23 December 2017 4:30AM
Police have seized more than a tonne of methamphetamine in Geraldton.
Sunrise was still several hours away as the 16m former charter-boat Valkoista pulled up quietly alongside a pier at the Geraldton marina on Thursday.
For the crew of three, it was the end of what police claim had been an arduous 1000km journey that had allegedly taken them well beyond the shelter of the Abrolhos Islands and deep into international waters.
What they had come back with was not a hull full of fish, but instead 59 large sealed bags that were emblazoned with Chinese writing that described the contents as either pig food or rice.
Waiting to greet the Valkoista at the marina was another crew of three who police claim were there to receive the 1.2 tonne of cargo.
Over the next hour they loaded the bags into the van — the operation seemingly going like clockwork as the last one was finally thrown in and the doors shut tight.
All that was left to do was to drive the van the five hours back to Perth where the celebrations could begin for the alleged drug runners who each stood to become multi-millionaires if their alleged plot had been successful. But just as the van began reversing away from the pier, any dreams of riches were suddenly shattered as machinegun toting tactical police officers swarmed the marina shouting “police, don’t move”.
What the alleged drug runners had not known was that their every move had been under surveillance for months by members of a joint State and Federal law enforcement task force who were waiting to pounce the moment the drugs hit WA’s shores.
According to police, the alleged plot was first put into action around June when a clean-cut 43-year-old skipper from NSW walked into a boat yard in Hillarys looking to make a purchase.
The Valkoista, which had been used by its former owner to run fishing charters out of Kalbarri, fitted the bill and was eventually sold to the new owner for about $350,000.
Meanwhile, police claim preparations were already being made by other alleged members of the syndicate to order the drugs from China where a kilogram sells wholesale for less than $10,000.
That same kilogram can fetch up to $1 million on Australian streets.
As the delivery date loomed, police claim the syndicate members began gathering in Perth and Geraldton to make their final preparations.
Two would stay in Perth, allegedly ready to receive the drugs, while the boat crew set out to meet up with a Chinese “mother ship” at a designated rendezvous point about 500km off the coast.
The crew who would drive the drugs to Perth hired the van from a company in South Guildford on Monday and had been booked to return it on Thursday afternoon.
Had the importation been successful, police believe the bulk of the drugs would ultimately have been shipped on to South Australia and NSW where the eight men who have been arrested came from.
Police have not revealed the links between those men, but all were described yesterday as senior members of the operation. All now face the prospect of life in prison if convicted over the importation.
A great job by our law enforcers. It would appear that cheap, inferior goods aren't the only products being sent from China to our shores. How many lives would this quantity if drugs ruined?
|Posted by: Bear Dec 23 2017, 12:17 PM|
|The syndicates are far too game, to send such an exorbitant amount of the garbage here is shocking - well done to those who worked tirelessly for many hours to catch these crims!|