Bay's seedy underbelly exposed
ORGANISED crime on the Fraser Coast has been given a major shake-up in the past month and Hervey Bay police have a message for the region's drug chiefs and their mules – expect more of the same.
On July 1 Hervey Bay CIB joined with Task Force HYDRA and teams from the State Crime Operations Command to form Operation Ice Bobcat.
The aim of the operation was to target organised crime linked to outlaw motorcycle gangs in Hervey Bay.
Through telephone intercepts, covert police officers and surveillance police gathered evidence including cash, drugs and valuable intelligence information on local drug rings.
On October 28, a team of 26 police from CIB, HYDRA, the Bomb Squad, Corrective Services officers and numerous drug and firearm detection dogs executed multiple simultaneous search warrants across Hervey Bay.
A number of offenders had already been arrested prior to that date and several more arrests followed.
Since the operation started three drug labs have been found during raids at O'Regan Creek Road, Toogoom, Honiton Street, Torquay, and, most recently, Kingston Court, Point Vernon.
Five firearms, including a loaded pistol, were seized during the investigation.
During the October 28 raids Rebels Motorcycle Club member Gary Wayne Hyland and associate Constandinos Dacolias were arrested and charged with trafficking.
At the time Hyland was already on bail for extortion and was taking part in a trial for related alleged offences during the final days of the operation.
But despite objections from police, Hervey Bay Magistrate Graeme Tatnell granted Hyland bail along with Dacolias on November 8.
Detective Senior Constable Andrew Self said police expected to make further arrests and lay additional charges of drug trafficking and possession of dangerous drugs and production charges in the near future.
He said investigations were ongoing and police welcomed any further information members of the public had in relation to amphetamine and/or cannabis production and distribution.
“Police are indebted to the information and support provided by the public which has assisted police throughout the investigation,” he said.
“The associated effects of drug use include an increase in burglary, property crimes and frauds which offenders commit to pay for the drugs and an increase in assaults, domestic violence and public nuisance offences which affect every member of the community.”
Supply drugs: 38
Possess drugs: 26
Produce drugs: 4
Fail to dispose: 2
Possess things: 1
Possess utensil: 6
Possess prohibited combination: 2
Possessing relevant substances: 2
Possess tainted property: 2
Proceeds of crime: 1
Possess firearms: 5
Unlicensed firearms: 1
Unsafe storage of ammunition/firearms: 2