Community

Major St George drug raid ends in 25 arrests

Detective Inspector Paul Hart said they made a commitment to local members of the community to address the drug issues in the area.
Detective Inspector Paul Hart said they made a commitment to local members of the community to address the drug issues in the area. Kevin Farmer

DRUG raids in St George this morning netted 25 arrests with over 170 charges.

Seven of the alleged offenders face charges of trafficking dangerous drugs, after Queensland Police enacted on Operation Oscar Kohl this morning.

Detective Inspector Paul Hart said the operation which targeted a "complex drug network” was 18 months in the making.

"It had been running for over a year and was primarily focused on drug distribution in and around St George,” he said.

"Today we executed approximately 24 search warrants and at this point in time we have charged 25 (alleged) offenders.. seven of those are charged with trafficking dangerous drugs in relation to the drug ice, which is the most serious drug charge. There is also an excess of 100 supply charges.”

Among those charged were a 34-year-old St George man who was charged with trafficking a dangerous drug and 23 counts of supply offences, a 30-year-old Surat man who was also charged with trafficking and an 18-year-old St George woman who has been charged also with trafficking.

Officers seized a number of vehicles, ice, cannabis, drug utensils and electronic equipment.

Det Insp Hart said the support of the community contributed to the success of the operation.

"Really the community has driven the operation as they don't want drugs in their town,” he said.

"They have been happy to provide support and to help us generate targets and ultimately close in on the operation.”

Det Insp Hart said this operation didn't mean St George had a drug problem worse than any other remote town.

"The people in the town are not prepared to tolerate it and are working to stamp it out,” he said.

"For us it has been a unique model because of the amount of community assistance that we have received and we hope the flow on effect from this will help us with similar operations in other towns.”

Balonne Shire Deputy Mayor Fiona Gaske said this morning's police raids were a result of the community choosing not to tolerate drugs in the region.

"The success of Operation Oscar Kohl was due in no small part to the co-operation of agencies and the community,” she said.

"The drug problem in St George is no worse than anywhere else in Queensland, but it was our community's concern about drug use and its effects on families in our region and its cooperation with the police that led to these arrests,” she said.

"Our community can now move forward feeling safe in the knowledge that council will continue to proactively support our community, however this will depend on the future cooperation of all levels of government and local agencies.”

To close the operation, south west police drew on the support from the state drug squad, the Brisbane and Toowoomba dog squad, major and organised crime units from the state crime command, the Darling Downs Tactical Crime unit and state intelligence units.

The seven people charged with trafficking have been remanded in custody and will appear in St George Magistrates Court in November.

Investigations are continuing and will be ongoing with a number of further arrests expected to follow in the coming weeks.


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