Battering ram launches raid
Police question a man during the operation. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

It's just after 6am . . . and a suspected drug dealer is about to get an early morning wake-up call from the organised crime squad.

The target is a middle-aged man living in a luxury apartment complex in West Perth.

Detectives have arranged swipe cards to give them access to the secure basement carpark and their cars glide in slowly in single file.

Most of the building's residents are still asleep as more than a dozen officers quietly climb the stairwell to the third floor.

The biggest and burliest of the detectives in the group has been given the job of cracking the door.

He's the first to step out of the stairwell and into the passageway, quietly positioning himself in front of the apartment door, a 10kg battering ram held tightly in both hands.

The senior officer gives him the signal to go and within seconds the early morning silence is shattered.

The battering ram makes light work of the apartment's locks and the door crashes open after just two hits.

One by one police burst into the apartment, weapons at the ready, screaming in unison: "Police don't move, police don't move."

On this occasion, they meet no resistance.

The two men police were expecting to find are still in their beds.

Bleary-eyed and confused they are handcuffed and led into the kitchen - still in their underwear.

This is when the real work begins. With the apartment secure it is now time for the investigators to start searching for the illicit drugs they suspect are being stored at the property.

In no time, officers have uncovered a replica handgun and a compound bow.

Within a couple of hours, they've seized drugs, counterfeit cash and suspected stolen property valued at about $20,000.

Most are expensive watches and necklaces alleged to have been taken from Perth homes and used as payment for drugs.

Police allege the men are linked to a crime syndicate selling drugs in the Fremantle area.

For the other residents in this complex, the sight of police in their building is a welcome one.

For months they've had their suspicions about their neighbours, putting up with strangers hanging around the complex at all hours of the day and night.

Some had even reported the suspected drug activity and goings-on to police.

Susan, who did not want her surname revealed, said she had been pleased to see police arrive.

"There are a lot of residents here who are quite fearful of them because they just seem like violent and uncaring people," she said. "It is great that something is finally being done about it."

Another resident, Jonathon, said some of the elderly residents seldom went out because they feared violence or abuse.

Acting Det-Sgt Colin Thomas, of the organised crime squad, said public tip-offs provided important information and police would act, but often needed to do more investigation before they could search a property.

The West Australian

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