FIFTEEN people have been charged after a year-long WA joint law enforcement operation that resulted in the seizure of around $15m worth of meth, four guns and more than $75,000 in cash.
A man from the WA town of Erskine has faced Perth Magistrates Court accused of leading a syndicate distributing meth in Western Australia.
A WA Joint Organised Crime Taskforce investigation targeting the alleged drug dealing, codenamed Operation Ajax Highview, has apparently stopped almost 20kg of meth – with an estimated street value in excess of $15m – reaching Perth streets.
Investigators have also uncovered a commercial size clandestine laboratory, which is being processed with the help of chemists from the WA ChemCentre.
It is still to be confirmed what type of drug was being produced but police suspect it is meth.
Police further seized four guns, five other weapons, 41 cannabis plants and $75,000 cash suspected of being the proceeds of crime.
Operation Ajax Highview was launched in November 2018 after Australian Border Force officers intercepted two international mail packages with about six kilograms of meth.
A woman and a man were charged at the time with attempting to import the illicit drugs.
Investigators have subsequently charged several other people and seized various amounts of meth during its transportation from the eastern states, including allegedly by airline passengers and through the domestic air mail.
The year-long investigation culminated in the arrest yesterday of the alleged ringleader of a network police say was distributing drugs in Perth.
The 35-year-old Erskine man was arrested after investigators raided his family’s unit, where they allegedly found a handgun stored in a pantry, a flick knife, extendable baton and thousands of dollars cash.
Three other men were arrested and charged with various drugs and weapons offences.
They will face court at a later date.
AFP Detective Superintendent Crime Operations in Perth, Timothy Underhill, said the hard work of Operation Ajax Highview investigators had prevented about 200,000 hits of ice from reaching WA streets.
ABF Regional Commander for WA, Rod O’Donnell, said ABF officers are constantly on alert for illicit drugs coming through international mail.
“Our officers are highly trained and use a range of assessment techniques to identify packages of interest and then utilise cutting edge x-ray and detection technology to identify prohibited items crossing the border,” Commander O’Donnell said.