Shop, homes raided

Po­lice un­cover $ 17,000 worth of drugs

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SA­MAN­THA HEALY sa­man­tha. healy@ news. com. au

A TOWNSVILLE sports sup­ple­ments shop and the homes of sev­eral of its em­ploy­ees and as­so­ci­ates were raided by po­lice in a ma­jor op­er­a­tion tar­get­ing steroid sup­ply.

Drugs squad de­tec­tives, in con­junc­tion with of­fi­cers from the Aus­tralian Bor­der Force, searched the Cur­ra­jong store and nine homes dur­ing early morn­ing raids yesterday and Thurs­day. The raids re­sulted in the seizure of $ 17,000 worth of an­abolic steroids, ec­stasy, co­caine, cannabis and other pre­scrip­tion drugs as part of Op­er­a­tion North Scarab.

Townsville Drug Squad of­fi­cer- in- charge, De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Mick Walker, said the op­er­a­tion tar­geted the al­leged users, sup­pli­ers and traf­fick­ers of steroids in the re­gion. “Dur­ing our in­quiries we iden­ti­fied a sup­ple­ments store which was vis­ited by po­lice on Thurs­day morn­ing,” he said.

Homes con­nected with sev­eral staff em­ployed at the store were also tar­geted dur­ing the two- day op­er­a­tion. Steroids were al­legedly found at homes in Dou­glas, Bur­dell, North Shore and Idalia.

Po­lice will also al­lege that about 0.05g of co­caine, a “rock” of MDMA and other re- stricted drugs were also found at the Dou­glas house.

It will also be al­leged that a quan­tity of metham­phetamines was found in a house in Aitken­vale.

The pos­ses­sion of steroids is illegal in Aus­tralia un­less a per­son has a valid med­i­cal pre­scrip­tion. But there is a black mar­ket for the so- called “per­for­mance- en­hanc­ing drug” which is a pop­u­lar mus­cle­build­ing drug of­ten used by body­builders and young men.

In 2014, the for­mer New­man Gov­ern­ment re­clas­si­fied an­abolic steroids as a sched­ule one dan­ger­ous drug, bring­ing the sub­stance into the same cat­e­gory as co­caine, heroin and am­phet­a­mines. Any­one con­victed of pos­sess­ing or sup­ply­ing steroids can now face a max­i­mum of 25 years in jail.

Sen Sgt Walker said the lo­cal op­er­a­tion was launched af­ter in­tel­li­gence was re­ceived from the com­mu­nity that steroids were al­legedly be­ing im­ported from over­seas.

Eigh­teen peo­ple were taken into cus­tody as a re­sult of the raids, with four men, aged be­tween 23 and 33, charged with drug of­fences. Another eight peo­ple are also ex­pected to be charged and po­lice are ex­am­in­ing elec­tronic de­vices.

“We had con­cerns that the peo­ple in­volved in this al­leged en­ter­prise were be­gin­ning to take a foothold in the city,” Det Sen Sgt Walker said.

“That is why we acted.”

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