Nine News Reports
Queensland police have launched a major crackdown on overseas drug gangs moving into south-eastern suburbs to grow cannabis crops.
Taskforce Two was formed to combat the international cartels using cannabis as a cash crop to fund other illegal activities.
“Syndicates are setting up here in the south-east corner. We’ve identified that some of these syndicates have been running in southern states” says Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker.
“They’re enjoying the benefits: fast cars, beachfront houses, riverside apartments. They’re just blinded by the proceeds of crime.”
Video and images taken by police and released to 9News show the elaborate and sophisticated hydroponic set-ups in 83 suburban houses raided by officers.
Adding to the obstacles faced by police, many of the drug runners have escaped from poverty in countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia, and don’t fear going to jail in Australia.
Officers say while the cartels are international operations, Australia – where cannabis crops are increasing – is one of the most attractive places to peddle drugs .
“In one instance, we’ve seen fingerprints turn up in London, Vancouver, Auckland and here in Brisbane,” says Mr Wacker.
“Cannabis is the cash crop it’s enabling people to bring into the country the harder substances like ice, cocaine.”
“It’s fairly well known Australians are prepared to pay hefty fees for their illicit substances.”