Bikies nabbed as police raid drug dens
A RIPLEY man with alleged bikie links who once owned an Ipswich tattoo parlour was one of four men charged with drugs, weapons and other offences yesterday.
The 57-year-old Ripley man, who police will allege is a former Comancheros member and current Bandidos associate, will appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court today.
He was charged with drug trafficking and the unlawful possession of concealable weapons, as detectives from Ipswich CIB and Taskforce Maxima executed seven search warrants at properties in the greater Ipswich area, Gold Coast and Calamvale to wrap up Operation Lima Bordeaux.
One of the properties searched included the Fort Knox Storage facility in Briggs Rd which was evacuated yesterday as police set up a crime scene. The other three men arrested include:
- A 49-year-old Raceview man, who has been charged with receiving tainted property. Police will allege he is a member of the Bandidos.
- A 36-year-old Newtown man, who has also been charged with producing, trafficking and possessing dangerous drugs.
- A 29-year-old Southport man, who has been charged with possessing dangerous drugs. Police will also allege he is a member of the Bandidos and that he was one of the bikies who was charged with the infamous affray at Broadbeach last year.
The two other Ipswich men will appear in Ipswich Magistrates Court today while the Gold Coast man will appear in Southport Magistrates Court.
The arrests were all part of the ongoing enforcement action against criminal motorcycle gangs and their networks.
Ipswich Detective Inspector Lew Strohfeldt police would allege the Ripley man, the main target, is a significant trafficker of methamphetamine.
"We are alleging the 57-year-old was originally the principal of a tattoo parlour (in Ipswich) that closed up just before the change of legislation in relation to tattoo parlours," Insp Strohfeldt said.
"We are alleging he is a significant supplier of methamphetamine in the greater Ipswich area.
"We believe as a result of Operation Lima Bordeaux and this person's arrest, we'll make it a lot more difficult for people to obtain the drug in the Ipswich area."
Police will allege the Ripley man is linked to the drug finds in Fort Knox Storage where Detective Inspector Terry Lawrence of Taskforce Maxima said "precursors for production have been located, vessels for production have been located… plus waste material from past production has been located."
Insp Strohfeldt said police "located a significant quantity of chemical, which we will be alleging is the by-product of a production of methamphetamine".
"There was also a suspect explosive device located in that shed. Our explosives ordinance response team has attended to deal with that," he said.
"The clandestine laboratory team also attended.
"Because these chemicals are extremely dangerous and toxic, they have to be dealt with by the professionals."
It will be alleged a quantity of methamphetamine, cannabis, precursor chemicals and glassware for drug manufacturing, ammunition and two replica handguns were located during the various police searches yesterday.
Operation Lima Bordeaux was commenced in September, 2013 by Ipswich detectives and has received invaluable support from Taskforce Maxima - which was set up in October, 2013 for the express purpose of dismantling criminal motorcycle gangs in Queensland.
"The good thing is that local police districts, led by (Ipswich) are standing up and doing their own criminal motorcycle gang investigations," Insp Lawrence said.
Meanwhile, yesterday's evacuation of Fort Knox Storage facility came as a shock to manager Allen Mackenzie.
"It is inconvenient," he said.
"But I'd rather be safe. Obviously they've got something major in there."