POLICE yesterday smashed a drug ring based in the Camperdown district with alleged links to the Warrnambool chapter of the outlawed Rebels motorcycle gang.
Detectives from the Warrnambool police criminal investigation unit and members of the city’s divisional response unit, crime scene unit and Camperdown district uniform police executed a series of search warrants in Terang, Camperdown and Colac yesterday morning.
Following an extensive investigation by Warrnambool detectives, the early-morning raids were made at eight properties to search for drugs and evidence of trafficking in Oxycontin — also known as “hillbilly heroin” — and amphetamine, referred to as speed.
South-west district police crime co-ordinator Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Canavan said more than 30 police officers and a drug dog were involved in the execution of the warrants yesterday.
“Seven people were arrested and have since been charged with a range of offences relating to the sale of Oxycontin tablets in the Terang, Camperdown and Colac areas,” he said.
“Four men, aged 28, 29, 31 and 48, from Camperdown and one woman, aged 39, from Colac, have been charged with trafficking Oxycontin.”
It is understood that three of the charged men are linked to the Warrnambool chapter of the outlawed Rebels motorcycle gang.
The charges, and a decision not to renew the lease of a shed at Warrnambool’s industrial area Silverton Park used as a clubroom by the Rebels, are seen as major blows to the future of the outlawed bikie gang in the south-west.
Detective Senior Sergeant Canavan said a 43-year-old Camperdown man was found with a hydroponic cannabis crop in his house.
He was charged with possession and cultivation of cannabis.
A 44-year-old Camperdown man was also charged with possession of Oxycontin and possession of amphetamine.
Oxycontin is an opiate-based painkilling medication available only on prescription.
It is commonly used and very difficult to police, with addicts employing a range of devious methods to get hold of the prescription drug, including “doctor shopping”.
“A number of bladed weapons were also seized by police from two of the addresses,” Detective Senior Sergeant Canavan said.
“All those charged have been released on bail to appear at the Warrnambool Magistrates Courts on December 3.”
Police were delighted with the results of the raids, which were the culmination of months of work.