Baggaley brothers arrested in drugs operation
By RACHEL AFFLICK and AAP firstname.lastname@example.org OLYMPIC kayak champion Nathan Baggaley and his brother Dru were arrested yesterday afternoon on serious drug charges.
The two Byron Bay men were arrested as part of a police operation targeting the large-scale manufacture and trafficking of the drug MDMA in New South Wales and Queensland.
Police held a news conference in Byron Bay at 4.30pm to announce a 25-year-old man had been arrested in Brunswick Heads, and the man's brother, aged 31, at an apartment in Centennial Circuit, Byron Bay. During the conference police would not confirm reports that Nathan Baggaley was the man arrested in Byron Bay.
Late yesterday, police were still searching 10 residential and factory premises in the area.
At the press conference, police said that during a four-month covert investigation a haul of MDMA, more commonly known as ecstasy, with a street value of $2.5 million had been seized. A pill press and a quantity of cash were also seized.
Police said they had recovered 28,500 MDMA tablets and a kilogram of MDMA powder, used to make tablets, allegedly destined to hit the streets just as schoolies celebrations were getting under way.
The Baggaley brothers were still in custody late yesterday and police said they expected to lay charges late last night.
Tweed/Byron police superintendent Michael Kenny told media seizing the drugs before they fell into the hands of schoolies had been a primary objective of an operation, called Strike Force Alawa.
"We believe today we have seen with this operation the primary objectives of the last four months achieved," he said.
In NSW over the past month, three men have been charged, including a 30-year-old from Ballina.
Supt Kenny said the investigation would continue. "We're expecting to make further arrests," he said.
Strike Force Alawa was established in July this year to investigate a syndicate allegedly involved in the manufacture and supply of large commercial quantities of MDMA in NSW and Queensland.
The men arrested yesterday are expected to appear in the Lismore Local Court today.
The arrest is the latest controversy to engulf Nathan Baggaley, who has just seen out a two-year suspension for steroid use.