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Covert police operations seize millions in cash, drugs and property

Queensland police seized more than $2.5 million cash and property, as well as illicit drugs with a street value of $1.52 million during 14 approved undercover operations finalised in the last financial year, according to a report to Parliament.

The 21st Controlled Operations Committee (COC) annual report tabled in Parliament on Friday revealed that police charged almost 160 people with more than 1650 criminal offences during convert “controlled operations” permitted under Queensland’s Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (PPRA).

The 2020-21 report, approved by COC acting chair and former District Court judge Manus Boyce, said: “A number of items including vehicles, firearms and cash amounting to a total value of $2,574,795 were restrained at the closure of these (14) operation.

“As a result of those closures, 157 persons were arrested and a total of 1658 charges were laid. The operational expenditure amounted to $347,191.93 excluding allowances and staff overtime.”

Controlled operations are carried out in Queensland by undercover operatives – who may be police officers or members of other law enforcement agencies – under assumed identities.

The COC was established to be responsible for considering and making recommendations about applications for an authority, or variation to an authority, to conduct controlled operations under Chapter 11 of the PPRA.

No court, magistrate or judge is involved in the approval of these operations.

The report, tabled by Police Minister Mark Ryan, also details a myriad of illicit drugs “seized of purchased” by covert operatives during the operations.

The report said these included:

  • cocaine – 2.295 kilograms valued at $689,913
  • methylamphetamine – 1.365 kilograms valued at $422,200
  • Prescription drugs – more than 313,000 tablets, 560 capsules and 107 ‘whistles’ valued at $172,886
  • MDMA (commonly referred to as Ecstasy) – 672.8 grams and ‘six pills’ valued at $71,555
  • testosterone – 957 vials valued at $57,420
  • cannabis – 3.591 kilograms, 11 plants, 19 seeds and six vials of ‘oil’ valued at $56,221
  • steroids – 510mls, 50 tablets, 168 vials and 50 grams valued at $25,390.

Other smaller quantities of drugs bought or seized included LSD, heroin, amphetamine and GBH.

The report also documents a total of $685,035 cash, $1.75 million in property, $94,000 in vehicles, $38,460 in mobile phones and $7100 in firearms, weapons or ammunition also seized or acquired by operatives.

Read the report.

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