Australian Anti-Drug Trafficking Operation Nets Almost 1,000 Suspects

Published: 20 September 2023

Drug Australia PoliceSample of drugs seized in the Australian police operation. (Photo: ACT Policing, License)

By Lieth Carrillo

Australian authorities said they have detained 990 suspects, charged more than 2,000, and seized 1.2 tonnes of drugs between September 11 and 15 as part of a massive operation against drug trafficking and organized crime in the country.

Operation Vitreus involved 403 search warrants nationwide and netted 814 kilograms of methamphetamine, 82 kilograms of ecstasy, and 185 kilograms of cannabis, together worth approximately AUD 475 million (over US$300 million).

“The statistics – 1.2 tonnes of drugs seized – show just how successful this operation was, but it also gives a snapshot into how real the problem in Australia is,” stated the operation’s National Coordinator, Peter Faux.

In the northeastern part of the country, in the state of Queensland, 442 people were arrested and charged with 981 offenses. Drugs worth more than US$8 million were seized during 94 search warrants in the region.

Police will not stop going after organized crime, State Drug Squad Detective Inspector Bradley Phelps pledged.

In Victoria, a state located in southeastern Australia, 87 search warrants were executed and 149 people were arrested on charges of 361 drug-related offenses. Firearms, cash and luxury vehicles were also seized.

“Our message to those involved in the manufacture and trafficking of illicit drugs is clear: will continue to work closely with our law enforcement and intelligence partners to target you, and to dismantle your operations,” stated Detective Acting Superintendent Dan Ryan, from the Victoria Police Organised Crime Division.

Australian Border Force seized during the operation 776 kilograms of methamphetamine, 159 kilograms of ecstasy, 35 kilograms of heroin, 42 kilograms of cocaine, 8 kilograms of cannabis, 69 liters of precursors to manufacture drugs such as methylamphetamine, and 13 kilograms of ketamine and pseudoephedrine at international cargo, mail, seaports, and international airports across the country.