Millions in cash seized from trucks in crackdown on methylamphetamine syndicates

Almost $9 million in mostly $50 and $100 notes has been seized in a police operation targeting drug trafficking over the West Australian border, which officers say has significantly disrupted criminal syndicates operated by methylamphetamine “peddlers of death”.

Police believe the massive cash haul was destined for New South Wales to be laundered and used to further distribute drugs.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Adams described the money as the “lubricant that fuels the drug making machine”.

“The money represents significant harm to Western Australia. This money has been derived from the profits of selling methylamphetamine in Western Australia,” he said.

One haul alone netted almost $6 million in cash.(Supplied: WA Police)

Seven men have been arrested and charged so far, with more arrests expected.

A large esky filled with bundles of $50 and $100 notes.
Police intercepted two trucks last week.(Supplied: WA Police)

Potentially ‘highest single seizure in Australian history’

Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Division, with the help of community tip-offs, identified and stopped several suspicious vehicles crossing the border on October 20.

Inside six cardboard boxes they found a total of $5,986,970 in cash — thought to be linked to a seizure of four kilograms of methylamphetamine in August.

Last week they stopped two trucks.

The first one had recently crossed into WA and was believed to be heading back to the border when police intercepted it in Meckering.

Officers found $2,942,130 cash inside.

The second truck was stopped by detectives from the Gang Crime Squad in Coolgardie.

Police are still counting how much money was in there, but Acting Assistant Commissioner Adams believed it would amount to about the same amount in total as the two other seizures, or around $9 million.

“It is a significant amount of cash that is going to harm criminal enterprises, not only in Western Australia but across Australia,” he said.

He said the current highest amount found in a single seizure was about $8.5 million in NSW two years ago.

Police Minister Michelle Roberts and WA Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Allan Adams stand holding bags of cash.
The police operation targeted methylamphetamine drug syndicates.(ABC News: Marcus Alborn)

‘If you are a criminal … we are coming’

Police Minister Michelle Roberts praised police for the operation, saying the $9 million represented “death and misery for families”.

“This is an amazing job that police have done here,” Ms Roberts said.

“They have disrupted a very significant organised crime group involved in this.

“The people behind this are the people destroying lives in the community.”

Police would not reveal exactly how the money was discovered, except to say “community resources” and information from the border were critical in identifying the targets.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Adams said the bust could not have been possible without help from the community, and specifically made the point that family members of criminals did not always agree with what they did.

A wide shot of Michelle Roberts with police officers in uniform tactical gear, with piles of money in plastic bags on a table.
The confiscated money will be redistributed through the Attorney General’s department.(ABC News: Marcus Alborn)

“If you are a criminal and you have a family, we are coming,” he warned.

“You don’t do business in Western Australia. You don’t do evil business in Western Australia.”

The confiscated money will be redistributed through the Attorney General’s department, with some going to the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and some possibly going to programs to reduce harm in the community and support vulnerable children.

Five men from Perth, one from Queensland and one from NSW have been charged with charged with laundering property or money from the proceeds of major crime.

They were all refused bail.

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High-tech cameras, safer fire trucks and hundreds of new volunteers to boost SA’s firefighting capacity

New trucks that can better shelter firefighters trapped in a firestorm, as well as high-tech cameras and hundreds of new volunteers, are set to boost South Australia’s defences ahead of the next summer bushfire season.

The Montacute Country Fire Service station, in the Adelaide Hills, this week received a new dual-cab fire truck, capable of more effectively sheltering firefighters trapped in a blaze.

It is one of 25 new trucks to be delivered to South Australian CFS stations this year.

Thermal-imaging cameras capable of detecting missing people and alerting crews to hidden fire dangers will be delivered to each of the state’s country fire stations.

Six hundred new volunteers have also been recruited to join the firefighting effort this coming bushfire season.

The new equipment is part of a $97.5 million spend by the South Australian Government in response to the Keelty Report into the last bushfire season.

Former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Keelty’s report found there needed to be a significant financial investment to properly equip brigades for the 2020-21 season.

New trucks to protect trapped firefighters

SA Country Fire Service chief officer Mark Jones said he was pleased to see what he described as “modern trucks” coming into the fleet.

“Getting rid of those single cab [vehicles] will be a major step forward,” he said.

“This is a significant investment in the safety of the citizens of South Australia and of our firefighters.”

This new fire truck is among 25 to be delivered to Country Fire Service stations around South Australia.(ABC News)

He said there were more than 800 fire trucks in South Australia.

Replacing all single-cab trucks with dual-cabs would make volunteers safer on the fire ground, he said.

Montacute CFS captain Steve Golding said he was extremely pleased to receive the new truck ahead of this year’s season.

He said it featured breathing equipment that would protect firefighters against noxious fumes and it also included better pumps, more water outlets and greater capacity to hold water.

“It’s a significant advantage from what we previously had,” he said.

Thermal-imaging cameras to detect hidden dangers, missing people

Mr Golding said the new thermal-imaging camera delivered to his station would help detect hidden hot spots and prevent spot fires.

He said his firefighters had to scramble following the Cudlee Creek bushfire last year because they did not have the equipment to detect hidden smouldering matter.

“We were at Cudlee Creek eight days after the fire broke out,” he recalled.

A man in a CFS hat and uniform in front of a fire truck (centre) with another man in a collared shirt.
Montacute Country Fire Service captain Steve Golding (centre) said thermal-imaging cameras would have helped in the aftermath of the Cudlee Creek bushfire.(ABC News)

“Come the afternoon when it heated up and the wind came up, and suddenly there’s all these spot fires everywhere.

“If we’d had a camera it would have been much easier.”

CFS chief officer Jones said the cameras were also useful because they could detect missing people in buildings.

Governments ‘failed to implement previous recommendations’

A key observation from the Keelty Report was that South Australian governments had failed to implement recommendations from successive reviews into bushfires in the state.

“This review notes that there have been many previous reviews and inquiries into bushfires in South Australia [but] not all the recommendations accepted by government have been audited for implementation,” it reads.

An aerial view of grey and greenish smoke from a bushfire on Kangaroo Island
Bushfires raged across Kangaroo Island for weeks in December and January.(Instagram: Trent Lawson/tmanadventure)

Emergency Services Minister Vincent Tarzia said the Marshall Government was working quickly address Mr Keelty’s recommendations.

He said the Government had learned from the devastation of the 2019-20 bushfire season.

“The Keelty Review was completed, and actions taken immediately, so we can better manage bushfires and the impact they have on our communities,” Mr Tarzia said.

“The Marshall Liberal Government’s action plan is already equipping South Australia with state-of-the-art equipment and resources in preparation for future fire threats.”

He added that the Government was hoping to establish a “permanent, paid resource” on Kangaroo Island which was ravaged by bushfires over December and January “hopefully this bushfire season”.

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Military trucks deployed to block road before demonstrators in Minsk – World

MINSK, September 13. /TASS/. Military trucks have been deployed to block the avenue leading to Minsk’s Drozdy neighborhood in a bid to stop tens of thousands of demonstrators marching in that direction in protests against the results on the August 9 presidential polls.

Police have also deployed water cannons and fences. The protesters have come up to the fence. No aggressive actions have been reported on either of the sides.

Minsk’s Drozdy neighborhood is home to many of Belarusian high-ranking officials. One of the government residences in located in the area too.

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Amazon parcels could be delivered by self-driving mini trucks in the UK | Science & Tech News

Britons could soon see their Amazon parcels delivered by a small self-driven vehicle. 

The online giant is hiring a team of engineers to develop its Amazon Scout vehicles for use in the UK after online shopping took off during lockdown.

The Scout rolls along the pavement at walking pace before delivering to a customer’s door.

It has been developed with a camera and sensor to help it navigate around pedestrians, pets and obstacles such as bins and sign posts.

The technology is already being tested out in small areas in the States, including the area just outside Amazon’s headquarters in Washington state.

Engineers in the UK will be working with the Amazon Scout research lab in Seattle to develop the software.

“Our investment in this new Amazon Scout team in the UK, which will consist of dozens of engineers, is driven by our partnership with the Cambridge community and made possible by the talented people who live here,” the company said.

Last week, Amazon said it would create 7,000 jobs by the end of the year, taking its permanent UK workforce to more than 40,000 people.

But thousands of jobs have been lost in the retail sector since March, as non-essential shops were forced to close during lockdown and many turned to online shopping.

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