Sixteen people in Broome, including an 80-year-old man, have been arrested and charged with 57 drug offences with more to come after what police described as the biggest drug bust in the town’s history involving organised crime.
More than 50 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 Monday, with drugs worth about $450,000 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.”
Detective Brett Baddock said the operation reached its penultimate phase yesterday with the arrest of several people. More arrests were anticipated, he said.
Two men faced the Broome Magistrates Court yesterday 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, has been 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 raids yielded 367g of methamphetamine in quantities from 56g up to 109.4g, with purity ranging from 41 to 58 per cent.
Some of the drugs were found allegedly concealed in the bush while another 86g was found in a ceiling fan
Prosecutor Sergeant Neil Berkley told the court Mr Ranford had a strong connection to Thailand and a de facto Thai partner, who owns a house there.
Mr Ranford had regularly travelled to Thailand in the last two years and police would allege he had done so under a false name, he said.
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 Magistrates Court in December.
A 34-year-old Perth man, formerly of Broome, has been charged with selling methylamphetamine and will appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on the same day.
A total of 407g of methylamphetamine, 5g of MDMA and 4.55kg of cannabis have so far been seized.