TWENTY people in Broome, including an 80-year-old man, have been arrested and charged with 68 drug offences, and more arrests are expected to follow in what police are calling Broome’s biggest ever drug bust involving organised crime.
More than 70 police were involved in the secret eight-month operation, including the organised crime squad and proceeds of crime squad officers.
At least 14 search warrants have been executed in Broome since last week, with drugs worth about $625,000 allegedly seized.
Kimberley District Superintendent Mick Sutherland said it had been a “massive operation”.
“Huge amounts of drugs have been seized, assets have been seized,” he said.
“Drug dealers are parasites, they wreck lives, they wreck communities... I’ve got a big message for them, we know who you are, we’re coming and we’ve still got some more arrests to be made.”
The head of the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Brett Baddock said the operation reached its penultimate phase last week with the arrest of several people.
“The operation is not over, we anticipate making more arrests and continuing further raids,” he said.
“Community information is valuable, we appreciate it and it is effectively where we start, and throw all the tools of the trade at it to get results like this.”
Two men faced Broome Magistrate’s Court on December 4 accused of 19 drug-related charges after a sting operation at several Broome locations, including one of the men’s homes.
Raymond Douglas Ranford, 44, was charged with six counts of selling a prohibited drug, two counts of possession with intent to supply and two counts of offering to sell a prohibited drug.
Mark Scott Gallop, 31, faces two charges of stealing or unlawfully obtaining property, three counts of selling a prohibited drug with intent to sell or supply and possessing a prohibited drug including intent to supply. He was also charged with possessing a smoking utensil and conspiracy to possess a prohibited drug.
Police said the operation yielded 407g of methamphetamine in quantities up to 109.4g, with purity up to 81 per cent. More than 100g was allegedly concealed in the bush 3km from Ranford’s home, while another 86g was found in a ceiling fan in his home.
Prosecutor Sergeant Neil Berkley told the court Mr Ranford had a strong connection to Thailand and a de facto Thai partner.
Mr Ranford had regularly travelled to Thailand in the past two years. Police will allege he had travelled to the Eastern States under a false name.
Mr Ranford’s assets have been frozen – including $210,000 in his bank account and a luxury, $120,000 seven-seater Caprice stretch limousine – and his passport has also been seized.
He was bailed with a $200,000 surety and $200,000 cash deposit. Mr Gallop was bailed on $10,000 with a similar surety. Both men will reappear in court on January 11.
An 80-year-old Broome man has also been charged with selling cannabis and will appear in Broome Magistrate’s Court in December.
A 34-year-old Perth man, formerly of Broome, has been charged with selling methylamphetamine and will appear in the Perth Magistrate’s Court on the same day.
A total of 407g of methylamphetamine, 5g of MDMA and 4.55kg of cannabis have so far been seized.