11 December 2023

'Unprecedented' ACT drug bust allegedly nabs members of cross-border supply network

| Zoe Cartwright
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Police say they found an enormous quantity of drugs, including anabolic steroids after raids were conducted across the ACT and Victoria yesterday. Photo: ACT Police.

ACT Police have busted the largest illegal controlled and prescription drug distribution network ever identified in the ACT and Victoria.

In August 2023, ACT Police began a joint investigation with Victoria Police to identify and disrupt a criminal group they believed was distributing large amounts of controlled and prescription drugs, including Xanax, Valium, anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, clenbuterol, THC gummies and psilocybin chocolates.

Three men allegedly involved in the network faced court in Canberra today.

Yesterday, simultaneous search warrants were executed in the ACT region and Melbourne.

A 38-year-old man was arrested at a residence in O’Connor and a 27-year-old man was arrested at a home in Gordon.

Both will face more than 20 charges, including traffic in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug, supplying anabolic steroids and traffic in a controlled drug other than cannabis.

READ ALSO New impairment charge to target people both drink and drug driving on Canberra’s roads

The 38-year-old man has also been charged with contravening a 3LA order and weapon possession.

A 39-year-old Googong man was arrested by NSW Police and is expected to be extradited to the ACT to face 40 charges, including participating in a criminal group, trafficking in a commercial quantity of a controlled drug, dealing in the proceeds of crime to a value greater than $1 million, obtaining financial advantage by deception, dealing in identification information for the purpose of committing an indictable Commonwealth offence, supplying anabolic steroids, trafficking in a controlled drug other than cannabis, contravening a section 3LA order and supplying declared substances.

Police say the three men were sourcing commercial quantities of these drugs and then operating a sophisticated marketing, sale and distribution network for individual buyers across Australia.

Police allege the group, operating online under the ‘OzPharmLabs’ name, distributed their products via the postal system.

During yesterday’s blitz, police say they seized unprecedented quantities of controlled drugs, about $200,000 in cash, a house, five vehicles, three motorcycles and designer goods. Multiple bank accounts were also restrained.

READ ALSO Wastewater testing reveals Canberrans’ drug consumption

Police say they expect to lay additional charges against all three men once the drug seizures are fully collated and the forensic examination of digital items is concluded.

Detective Inspector Mark Steel said the cross-border group was likely responsible for a significant portion of the illegal prescription drug market in Australia.

“If you are operating across borders, you will face the combined efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies,” he said.

“We will arrest you, seize your assets and put you before courts to face significant criminal charges.”

Anyone with information about the sale and distribution of illegal drugs in the ACT is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website.  Information can be provided anonymously.

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