WATCH: Ballina arrest during massive sting operation
UPDATE 3.40pm: POLICE from three states have arrested five men following an extensive cross-border joint investigation into the supply of drugs and firearms.
In January 2020, detectives attached to Richmond Police District Drug Unit and the State Crime Command's Criminal Groups Squad established Strike Force Ranson to investigate the importation, manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs and the supply of prohibited weapons in Northern NSW and south-east Queensland.
Following extensive inquiries, strike force investigators executed two search warrants at properties in Lismore and Ballina about 9.45am today.
During the searches, police allegedly located and seized methylamphetamine and MDMA, firearms parts and cash.
A 28-year-old man was arrested at Ballina with assistance from the Tactical Operations Unit. He was taken to Lismore Police Station and charged with several offences, including:
• Supply large commercial quantity of prohibited drug (three counts)
• Supply commercial quantity of prohibited drug (two counts)
• Manufacture large commercial quantity of prohibited drug (two counts)
• Supply prohibited firearm
• Supply prohibited firearm part
• Supply ammunition, and
• Knowingly deal with the proceeds of crime.
Police will allege in court that the man was involved in the manufacture and supply of large commercial quantities of MDMA and amphetamines and the supply of firearms over a six-month period.
He was refused bail to appear at Lismore Local Court tomorrow.
As part of joint inquiries, Queensland Police Service State Crime Command's Drug and Serious Crime Group executed three search warrants at homes in Highland Park, Mudgeeraba and Ashmore today, where they arrested two men - aged 27 (Highland Park) and 36 (Mudgeeraba). Detectives also located and seized firearms and a pill press used in the manufacture of MDMA pills.
Additionally, Victoria Police also executed two search warrants at homes in Abbotsford and Balaclava. A 27-year-old man was arrested at the Abbotsford property and a second 27-year-old man at a property in Surrey Hills. During these searches, police located and seized an amount of Australian cash.
Strike force detectives will apply for the extradition of three men, two from Queensland and one from Victoria, to NSW in both the Southport Magistrates Court and Melbourne Magistrates Court tomorrow (Wednesday 24 June 2020).
Investigations under Strike Force Ranson are ongoing.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.
UPDATE 2.10pm: MILITARY grade weapons and pill presses were seized as part of a massive police operation targeting a cross-border drug syndicate.
Richmond Police District acting Superintendent Cameron Lindsay said hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of MDMA and amphetamines were seized today as part of a six-month joint police operation in northern NSW, south east Queensland and Victoria.
"Today police executed five search warrants across three states and arrested five people that we will now allege have been involved in the large commercial supply and manufacture of illegal drugs in this area," acting Supt Lindsay said.
"We will further allege these men are involved in the supply of illegal weapons and firearms that are consistent with military grade firearms.
"A 28-year-old Ballina man is currently assisting us with inquiries at this station.
"Two further arrests have been made in Queensland and two arrests in Victoria.
"We will allege these men were part of a syndicate working within the Northern region area."
Police will also allege a large amount of cash was also seized.
Acting Supt Lindsay said both the drugs and firearms seized will make a big dent in illegal operations.
"We are talking about a large commercial supply," acting Supt Lindsay said.
"We're at the top end at this syndicate, we're talking bout hundreds of thousands of drugs moving across borders and into this area.
"It's going to make a big dent in the amount of this supply."
"We will allege there were occasions things were being manufactured both here and in south east Queensland.
"I do anticipate there will be further arrests and investigations are still ongoing.
"I'm very pleased we have these very dangerous weapons that have been seized and they're now off the street."
UPDATE, 12.40pm: POLICE have executed several search warrants in Northern NSW, Queensland and Victoria in relation to the importation, manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs and the supply of firearms.
In January 2020, detectives attached to the Richmond Police District Drug Unit and State Crime Command's Criminal Groups Squad established Strike Force Ranson to investigate the importation, manufacture and supply of prohibited drugs and the supply of prohibited weapons in northern NSW and south-east Queensland.
Following extensive inquiries, officers from Richmond PD and the State Crime Command - with assistance from the Tactical Operations Unit - executed two search warrants at properties in Lismore and Ballina about 6am today.
Police in Queensland and Victoria also executed search warrants in relation to Strike Force Ranson.
In total, four men - one in NSW, two in Queensland and one in VIC - have been arrested.
UPDATE 10.15am: POLICE are raiding several properties believed to be connected to a large drug syndicate on the Northern Rivers.
Richmond Police District crime manager Detective Inspector Cameron Lindsay said police had arrested a man in Ballina this morning who was assisting with inquiries.
"The investigation relates to the large commercial supply of MDMA and amphetamines in the area and illegal firearms," he said.
Police are also executing two search warrants in Queensland and another two warrants in Victoria in connection to the ongoing investigation.
More to come.
Original story: NSW Police are searching several properties across three states this morning as part of ongoing investigations.
A NSW Police spokeswoman confirmed the massive police operation was currently underway.
"Several search warrants are currently underway in Northern NSW, South East Queensland and Victoria in relation to an ongoing investigation by Richmond Police District and State Crime Command Criminal Group Squad," she said.
More information to come.