By Rowan Forster
Police believe they are yet to make a significant dent in Cardinia’s drug trade, despite yielding two commercial quantity seizures over the past week.
Detectives located an allegedly stolen $200,000 Mercedes, $100,000 worth of jewellery, cash and four kilograms of cocaine and methylamphetamine during a dramatic raid that sent Officer into lockdown on Friday 21 September.
On Monday 24 September, officers pounced again – confiscating a rifle, ammunition and a significant amount of cannabis from a property in Nar Nar Goon.
A detective from Cardinia’s Crime Investigation Unit told the Gazette the arrests would not have a huge impact on the overall scope of the region’s crime.
He said the cash located during the Officer raid was more than any he had ever seen throughout his career – describing it as like “something out of a movie”.
After scouring the Nature Avenue, Officer property and arresting three people, a 66-year-old man, 34-year-old man and 60-year-old woman, detectives made another startling discovery.
A substance – believed to be explosive and volatile – was located.
Neighbours were forced to bunker down inside their homes for several tense hours as arson chemists analysed the material.
It was eventually deemed to be safe, but residents in nearby closed streets were left in shock.
Nature Avenue’s Jenna Wilkins said she was taking her six-year-old daughter to a doctor’s appointment when she was ushered inside by police in riot gear.
“It was all very surreal, in Officer of all places,” she said.
“My daughter was terrified and panicking.
“When we heard there were concerns about explosives it was very frightening because naturally you want to leave – not stay inside your house which is barely halfway down the road.”
She claims the neighbourhood’s amenity has recently been marred by a spate of drug-affected people roaming the streets.
“If a big arrest helps keep the distribution of drugs to a minimum, then that has to be a good thing.” Mrs Wilkins added.
The investigation and subsequent search warrant, executed by Dandenong Divisional Response Unit officers, was reportedly months in the making.
The 34-year-old accused was charged with possessing the proceeds of crime, trafficking a large commercial quantity of cocaine and trafficking a commercial quantity of methylamphetamine.
The drugs are believed to have a street value of half a million dollars.
He was remanded in custody and appeared before a brief hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday.
The 60-year-old woman and 66-year-old man were released pending further inquiries.
During Monday’s raid in Nar Nar Goon, a 58-year-old man was arrested and charged with drug trafficking, drug cultivating, theft and firearm related offences.
It is also alleged the cannabis was cultivated using stolen electricity.