Gang leader 'flushed cash' in Tas raid

·2-min read

An alleged leader of a street crime gang in northern Tasmania was caught by police trying to flush more than $8600 in cash down a toilet.

He is one of twenty people facing criminal charges after $143,000 in cash and illegal guns and drugs were seized during a state and Australian Federal Police operation.

Fifteen searches were conducted in and around Launceston across five weeks and 40 grams of the drug ice, 91 ecstasy tablets and four firearms were found.

AFP sergeant Nick Gibson said the alleged leader was dealing in the proceeds of crime.

"During a search warrant, AFP officers and Tasmania Police officers allegedly caught that person attempting to flush in excess of $8600 down a toilet," he said on Wednesday.

"It was certainly a new thing. Usually they try to flush something that's a little bit easier to get down a toilet."

A middle-aged woman living with the alleged leader has been accused of defrauding the Commonwealth of $170,000.

"It will be alleged in court that she has been receiving a carers payment from Services Australia since 2016 for a female that resides interstate," Sgt Gibson said.

Other people were charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, aggravated armed robbery, aggravated burglary, breaching a consorting notice, home detention order and bail, and firearm offences.

Tasmania Police acting deputy commissioner Jonathan Higgins said the group was a loosely formed street gang.

"The community needs to be aware that criminal gangs are not harmless clubs," he said in a statement.

The Tasmania Police and AFP operation was set up in late August to investigate organised criminal networks in the Launceston area.

The charges come after two men were caught in late September trying to smuggle more than $4 million worth of the drug ice into Tasmania inside camping gear.

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