SYDNEY, Australia – Detectives on Thursday seized illicit drugs worth $225 million in exercising search warrants on the New South Wales Central Coast on Thursday.
A 32-year old man was arrested in connection with the seizure, he was refused bail and was scheduled to appear in Gosford Local Court on Friday.
Events began to unfold earlier in the week when a 38-year-old man was arrested at a caravan park at Diamond Beach on the Mid North Coast of NSW and a search warrant was executed about 10:00am on Tuesday.
Detectives seized several items, including pill press dyes, documentation relating to the manufacture of prohibited drugs, electronic devices, and steroids.
The man was taken to Forster Police Station where he was charged. He remains before the courts.
The 32-year old man arrested on Thursday was taken into custody at a unit complex in Terrigal on the Central Coast and taken to Gosford Police Station.
Shortly after the arrest, strike force detectives executed three search warrants at properties in Terrigal and Killcare, and a storage facility in West Gosford.
Investigators seized several items, including more than 400kg of precursors, pill press parts, and equipment used to manufacture illicit drugs.
This amount of precursor could make up to 250kg of 'ice', which would have an estimated potential street value of $225 million, police said.
The man was charged with 14 drug offences, participation in a criminal group, and driving a motor vehicle while his licence was suspended.
He was refused bail to appear at Gosford Local Court on Friday.
Drug and Firearms Squad Commander Detective Acting Superintendent Michael Cook said, while police have seized drugs and precursors potentially worth more than $230 million in total, the investigation doesn't end there.
"NSW Police Force, and our law enforcement partners, are determined and relentless in their pursuit to disrupt the manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs in the community," he said.
"This approach is working; in the past financial year, we have seen an increase of 47% in locating and dismantling clandestine laboratories.
"We will continue to work to detect and seize illegal drugs using various methods and by targeting drug supply and possession at all levels," Det A/Supt Cook said.
"Those involved in the manufacture or supply of drugs should know this, you are in our sights and it won't be long now until you're sitting in the back of a police car."
In May last year, detectives from the State Crime Command's Drug and Firearms Squad, with the assistance of the Australian Border Force, established Strike Force Footman after receiving information that chemicals and precursors were being imported from overseas to manufacture MDMA and methylamphetamine.
Earlier in the investigation, detectives seized 100kg of Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL), which has an estimated potential street value of more than $300,000.
On 30 August 2018, a clandestine laboratory was located at Ashtead Parade, Stanhope Gardens, following an explosion.
The lab was dismantled and forensically processed, with detectives seizing precursors relevant to the investigation, and 9kg of 'ice' and 1.5L of meth oil; these drugs have a combined estimated potential street value of almost $7 million.
The two arrests this week have followed on from the developments which began in May 2017 and are part of the Strike Force Footman investigation, which detectives say is ongoing.