Drug trafficker Anthony Ganley and wife Gabrielle Costello, who supplied drugs and looked after her husband's drug business.
Drug trafficker Anthony Ganley and wife Gabrielle Costello, who supplied drugs and looked after her husband's drug business. facebook.com

Operation jails 31 for 104.5 years

THE top dog in one of the Sunshine Coast's biggest drug syndicates had an "unadulterated desire to make money".

Anthony Ganley's motivation for profit saw him moving more than 2000 pills a week, up to 140g (5 ounces) of methamphetamines, 28g (1 ounce) of cocaine and up to 3kg of marijuana to Coast drug users.

He either dealt directly with his own team of eight dealers, his brother Dwayne Ganley or through his right-hand-man Gary Reynolds-Morgan.

Reynolds-Morgan also filtered drugs down to Matthew Champion. They each had about 12 dealers who would disperse the drugs throughout the Sunshine Coast.

Reynolds-Morgan was selling ecstasy, speed and cocaine for Ganley, also known as Kinga Tony, but ran his own syndicate supplying cannabis

Champion never dealt directly with Anthony Ganley but he knew where he slotted into the hierarchy and knew Ganley as "big boy or fat man".

Champion was a high-level street dealer who would have customers asking for thousands of tablets at a time, one customer seeking 10,000.

Wayne Ganley, Dwayne and Anthony's father, were involved in sourcing and "warehousing" drugs and providing business advice to his sons.

They targeted social events and festivals - such as Christmas, New Year's Eve, Big Day Out and Australia Day - because young people would frequent them.

Ganley had a "commercial hunger" and would stock up ahead of significant trade he predicted around such events.

But a seven-month police operation brought the whole ring down when officers captured indisputable evidence through more than 12,000 phone call intercepts, covert surveillance, tactical intercepts and search warrants.

Police executed dozens of warrants on properties in the Sunshine Coast, Redcliffe and Caboolture areas over two days in February, 2010.

They seized about $1 million worth of assets and about $700,000 worth of drugs in those raids and through proceeds of crime seizures in subsequent months.

Police restrained cash, houses and vehicles belonging to the Ganleys and applied for forfeiture orders.

Codenamed Hotel Guarana, it was the first regional drug operation and one of the largest closures in Queensland based on the size of the raids and the number of people charged.

More than 120 officers were involved in the joint agency operation with the Australian Crime Commission and the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission.

The bulk of those arrested were sentenced in Brisbane Supreme Court over three days in October as part of a joint criminal enterprise trafficking ecstasy, speed, cocaine and marijuana.

The Ganleys and Anthony's wife Gabrielle Costello were sentenced last month, the final rung of the web.

There were 31 people jailed for a combined total of 104.5 years, though not all were required to spend time behind bars, four people put on probation and two others fined for their involvement.

Syndicate members were sentenced for varying periods of trafficking, depending on phone intercepts and admissions, but police believe the operation was running for at least two to three years.

Case officer Detective Senior Constable Chris Eaton said this was a typical drug syndicate and police investigated by working from the bottom to the top.

He said this crew was responsible for a large percentage of drugs that found their way into Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland and Maroochydore licensed premises.

"As the drugs get moved down to points of distribution they get supplied to other people who lead their own drug supply network," he said.

"For instance, Gary Reynolds-Morgan was the lieutenant responsible for the majority of drugs for the syndicate and responsible for receiving the cash from other syndicate members.

"These people, these secondary tier targets, weren't all known to each other but they all work together as a syndicate.

"The drugs filtered down and got fed out to the side to suppliers like a big spider web.

"The second tier would traffick to street level users and to other street level suppliers.

"From investigations in relation to Champion, police were able to work their way up the chain of supply."

Det Eaton said police investigations began with drug supply in the Mooloolaba area, focusing on licensed premises.

He said police were then able to identify targets and used various investigative practices to uncover their operations.

"A lot of these people were fairly inexperienced criminals," he said.

"The majority of them do work.

"They're all users themselves but I don't think a lot of them were supplying to support a habit.

"Just about all of them, with the exception of the principals, quite probably got into it because of the edginess of it, because of the reputation that came with it.

"Most have gone from selling a few pills and that has quickly transpired into selling hundreds of pills.

"It's not a syndicate that's moving massive amounts on individual supplies.

"But when you add up hundreds and hundreds of deals of medium amounts you get up to very high numbers of drug movements."

Det Eaton said being involved in drug supply opened them up to being victims of crime themselves, noting Reynolds-Morgan was the victim of a home invasion in Mooloolaba in December, 2009.

He said these arrests had resulted in a flow-on effect of less crime in the area.

"Virtually every home invasion is drug related," he said.

"When you involve yourself in this sort of industry, this world, you often have large amounts of drugs and money.

Other criminals want to take advantage of that.

"We could certainly see around the Mooloolaba area there was a positive result from this syndicate being disbanded."

Justice Ann Lyons, who sentenced the majority of offenders in October, heard many of the second-tier people involved were young and vulnerable people who had been preyed upon.

Some of them had promising stories to tell such as the man who completed the first house exchanged in the housing program at Grantham after the 2011 floods and worked on supplying housing to remote areas.

There was also a SES group leader and a woman who got involved because she wanted to watch DVDs with someone to fill the lonely void in her life.

Justice Lyons said there was a social and a human cost involved in the actions of these people.

She noted Reynolds-Morgan's actions, in particular, had a "tragic and extensive" impact.

"The last three days have been very sad, looking at very young people coming into court who are going through that door (to jail) because of their interaction with you," she told him.

"These drugs have a significant impact on huge numbers of people and lives are affected significantly.

"It has enormous consequences in the community."

 

Sunshine Coast Daily

 

PHONE INTERCEPT TERMS

  • Ecstasy: pingers, dingers, pills, beans, roundies, lollies or by their press trademark such as red apples, pacman, blue dollar, red scorpions, Bermuda triangle and pink ladies.
  • Amphetamines: Gas, ox blood, speed, goey, whizz.
  • Cocaine: Charlie, coke, snow.
  • Big bird: The name of Operation Hotel Guarana's primary target Anthony Ganley.
  • Marijuana: Green, bush, hydro.
  • Money: paper.

 

METHODS POLICE USED

  • telephone intercepts
  • covert surveillance
  • search warrants
  • tactical intercepts

 

WEEKLY DRUG MOVEMENTS

  • 2000 ecstasy pills x $25 street value = $50,000
  • Up to 5 ounces of amphetamines x $3500 an ounce street value = $17,500
  • Up to 1 ounce of cocaine = $6000
  • Up to 3kg of marijuana x $3200 a pound street value = $19,200
  • Total = $92,700


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