In a bizarre attempt to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic, police allege an interstate truck driver tried to use his ‘essential worker’ status to transport cannabis across state lines.
South Australian police arrested a 52-year-old Mount compass man earlier this week. After raiding his home in Port Adelaide on Tuesday, police are alleging the interstate truck driver was part of an operation that would have trafficked over a million dollar’s worth of cannabis around Australia.
As the man was an essential worker, traffickers allegedly planned to use his truckbed to carry the essential cannabis across state lines.
At the Lipson Street address, police seized over 160 kilograms of cannabis, 500 grams of cocaine and $20,000 in cash. In total, police estimate the value of the cannabis to be over $1.325 million.
In investigating the trafficking operation, Police also raided a property in Evanston Park, North Adelaide. Over $25,000 in cash was seized at the scene and a 37-year-old man was arrested. Another man, 43, was arrested in Urrbrae later that day.
All three men faced Elizabeth Magistrates Court on Wednesday, and have been charged with money laundering and drug trafficking. If found guilty, the men face lengthy prison sentences. Addressing the arrests in a statement to the ABC, Australia Federal Police (AFP) Superintendent Gail McClure was quoted as saying:
Police will allege an interstate truck driver was planning to use his status as an essential worker to transport drugs around the country.
These arrests were the result of a joint effort from AFP and Australia’s Serious and Organised Crime Branch. While the traffickers plan to traffic drugs during the pandemic was dramatic, it wasn’t original, as South Australia police carried out a similar operation earlier this month.