A KIDDERMINSTER man was arrested yesterday as part of an international police investigation into a motorcycle gang that allegedly smuggled amphetamines into Australia from the UK.
Five other men, including four members of the Rebels Motorcycle Club, were arrested in Queensland and Tasmania, Australia, on suspicion of money laundering and importing 8kg of the illegal drug with an estimated street value of £11 million.
The 27-year-old from Kidderminster, who was arrested in Liverpool by West Mercia Police’s serious and organised crime unit, was questioned before being released on bail pending further inquiries.
The Australian Crime Commission co-ordinated the operation in partnership with Tasmania Police, Queensland Police Service, Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), as well as West Mercia Police.
Det Insp Carl Moore, of West Mercia Police, said: “This is another example of the international nature of many organised crime investigations and, therefore, we work with policing agencies across the world.
“We have been keen to share our intelligence and expertise with our Australian counterparts to aid their inquiries and if it leads us to criminality taking place in the UK then all the better.
“We will now be working together to ensure our efforts lead to charges for those we believe have been involved in the criminal drugs trafficking operation.”
Richard Grant, national manager of investigations at the Australian Crime Commission said: “The investigation indicated the men were planning to import two packages of illicit drugs through an international parcel courier service.
“As a result, Tasmania Police and ACBPS officials intercepted two packages sent from the United Kingdom, which contained approximately 4kg of amphetamines.
“Two further packages totalling another 4kg were later intercepted in Queensland."
Donna Adams, assistant commissioner of Tasmania Police, added the investigation had dealt a significant blow to the area’s drugs market and was an indication to the rest of the country, and overseas, that illicit drugs would not be tolerated.
She said: “Criminal entities are developing in sophistication.
“This is why collaborative efforts by law enforcement agencies are an important element in staying ahead of the game.
“Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) are the second most widely used illicit drug in Australia.
“Tasmania Police will continue to proactively investigate all reports of illicit drug manufacture and drug trafficking.”
Motorcycle gangs are the most significant organised crime problem in Australia and the arrests come as Australian police continue to crack down on the Rebels, with a national task force focussed on disrupting, disabling and dismantling their criminal activities.