Queensland police have seized millions in cannabis after intercepting a plane they allege was involved in an interstate drug deal.
Police intercepted the plane Monday after it landed at Brisbane’s Redcliffe Airport around 2:00 pm. The plane had arrived from Melbourne carrying two men.
The men are alleged to have met a third man who arrived in a 4WD, conducting what the police believe was a drug transaction on the tarmac. Police then moved in and arrested the men.
Officers found approximately $1 million in cash inside the rear of the plane. The cash was contained in two boxes alongside five sports bags containing cannabis bricks. The cannabis totalled roughly 120 kilograms with an estimated value of $3.5 million.
Police also carried out a series of raids around Brisbane as part of the investigation. The raids turned up another 50 kilograms of cannabis from a storage shed, as well as over $1.5 million in cash.
This investigation is a part of Operation Romeo Mugwort, which has been ongoing for 18-months. The operation has resulted in police seizing cannabis, cocaine, ammunition, weapons, and $8.5 million in cash. It has also resulted in the arrests of fourteen men between the ages of 25 and 60. Eight men were charged with trafficking, with the group sharing 144 charges between them.
While police don’t know where the drugs originated, the investigation has covered Queensland, Victoria, NT, NSW, and Thailand.
Senior Sergeant Ken Rogers believes this is a sophisticated drug operation using several airports, vehicles, and cypher phones to communicate. He told the ABC the operation was disrupted by COVID-19.
They were using aircraft and schedule-one drugs but then when we saw COVID hit, it sort of shifted more towards vehicles and cannabis.
Three men appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday, including Adam Lee King (36), Christopher Chapman (29) and Michael Pires (44).