CRACKDOWN: Operation Romeo Marine promises further arrests in Gayndah.
CRACKDOWN: Operation Romeo Marine promises further arrests in Gayndah. Trevor Veale

'More drug charges to come': Burnett police

THE officer in charge of Gayndah Police has forecast further drug charges in the town as he promises to bust wide open the "incestuous" network of local dealers.

Sergeant Josh Ryan said Operation Romeo Marine, the local iteration of Maryborough's now-closed Operation Rowdy, is still in its "infancy" after 12 months, although it has already resulted in three people being charged for supply-related offences.

"It has been an operation that has specifically targeted the supply, distribution and sale of dangerous drugs within the community," Sgt Ryan said.

He said it has involved both "covert and overt" techniques: telecommunications data, undercover police, search warrants, and intelligence, both anonymously and from "human sources."

"We have used a number of our methodologies to target this incestuous environment," Sgt Ryan said.

"We believe that we have sufficient evidence to charge the main suppliers, but obviously as the investigation continues, I'm asking people in the community to continue to provide information.

"I send a clear message that we know who you are, we will come, we will talk to you.

"It's not a matter of if we will come, it's a matter of when."

 

Sergeant Josh Ryan at the 2017 Gayndah Orange Festival.
Sergeant Josh Ryan at the 2017 Gayndah Orange Festival. Adam McCleery

Sgt Ryan revealed that there are allegations that some in the community have supplied drugs "on multiple occasions" to undercover police.

"It's alarming that we've had to do an operation like this but it's also a positive that we are, I believe, dismantling what I can see is entrenched behaviour within this community," he said.

Sgt Ryan said the building blocks of the investigation come from tip-offs.

"We need the support of the community, that intelligence, that information is critical to what police do," he said.

"We need the public to talk to us.

"They might think it's only a very minor piece of information but I've been doing this job long enough to know that might be the most critical piece of information.

"If there's cars pulling up for short periods of time, if there's people yelling, fighting, they could be signs of someone having a bad day or it could be drug activity or behaviour."

Sgt Ryan assured the community that all information provided to police is acted upon but that the wheels of justice take time to turn.

"My biggest concern is that people may not think that much is happening, people have this perception that there may be a drug supplier out there and that police are just letting them conduct their business," he said.

"It's something that takes time, it's done with precision... it's been validated, it's been grown... and that's why our detectives are very good at what they do in that regard."



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