Police deal major blows to Coast’s criminal networks
Illicit drugs with street values into the millions have been seized in a major dent to the Sunshine Coast's criminal underworld spanning from Caloundra to Noosa.
One of the region's top-ranking detectives has outlined some of the "disruption" strategies rolled out to deal a blow to organised crime syndicates over the past year.
Sunshine Coast officer Detective Inspector Dave Drinnen described the region's drug trade as tentacles linked to major players on the Gold Coast, Sydney and overseas, including outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Inspector Drinnen said Coast detectives had achieved outstanding success in the past year through major operations and hitting organised crime.
"We have done multiple, major jobs and certainly, all our links come back to these criminals operating in other areas," Inspector Drinnen said.
"We need to be targeting the top end, the higher end of our criminal networks and look at how we can dismantle and have a long-term impact in relation to the Coast's drug trade."
Inspector Drinnen said the disruption strategies helped dent the Coast's distribution network which in turn hit the organised syndicates.
Some of the strategies include stopping vehicles, raiding properties, acting on tip offs and monitoring how drugs were couriered through the community.
As a result, Inspector Drinnen said there had been more than 4500 offenders charged on drug-related matters over the past two years with more than 80 for drug trafficking.
Over the past 12 months he said there had been more than 100 seizures of cocaine and more than 450 seizures of methylamphetamine.
"There is a lot of work that goes on in the tactical side of things, a range of operations," Inspector Drinnen said.
"These strategies are just as important as looking at the higher end.
"We are seeing a lot of our violent offenders, those involved in property crime, the linkage to drugs and crime is causing a great deal of impact and risk across the community."
Inspector Drinnen pointed to 12 examples of busts being carried out on the ground in the past year including the seizure of 400g of meth at Noosa, 116 marijuana plants found in a Yandina bush crop and weapons and steroids seized in a hotel room raid.
Historically, ice and methylamphetamine have been the biggest scourge to the community but Inspector Drinnen listed cocaine and MDMA as other problem drugs.
He said families and young children were falling victim after being exposed to illicit drugs at an early age.
"We have recognised the problem that drugs cause the community, it's not just from a policing perspective, but it's the economic and social issues that come with the use of illicit drugs," Inspector Drinnen said.
He said a response beyond what police could manage was needed to get to the core of the problem.
"As police we see the impacts drug abuse and addiction have on the community and how it affects our vulnerable and the wider crime issues," he said.
"These illegal drugs in our community continue to harm families and children who are placed at risk due to the exposure in the family environment and the impact on those family dynamics.
"The drug use in the home see young children exposed which creates those dysfunctional family situations which often creates great social and economic issues."