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Drug trafficking charges in joint police investigation

Detectives have charged 12 people as part of a joint investigation between Queensland Police Service and Queensland Corrective Services into the trafficking of dangerous and prescription drugs at a Cairns Correctional Centre.

Operation Tango Artesian closed this month following an extensive investigation by investigators from the Crime and Intelligence Command’s Major and Organised Crime Squad (MOCS) Far Northern and Queensland Corrective Services.

Established in March 2021, the operation investigated the alleged supply and trafficking of dangerous drugs including Buprenorphine (Suboxone) within the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre.

Investigators will allege a network of prisoners at the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, assisted by visitors to the Correctional Centre, were sourcing and smuggling in dangerous drugs to be sold to other prisoners.

In total, 12 people have been charged, including six prisoners, with 26 offences including trafficking in dangerous, supply dangerous drug (COA Correctional Facility) and possess dangerous drugs.

During the investigation, quantities of steroids and cannabis and large quantities of suboxone strips were located and seized with a street value totalling over $337,000.

General Manager of Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, Chief Superintendent Gabby Payne said the outcome of the joint operation between Queensland Corrective Services and the Queensland Police Service was a significant achievement for prison safety.

“Contraband in our prisons puts the lives of prison officers, prisoners and visitors at serious risk and Queensland Corrective Services has a zero-tolerance approach,” Ch Supt Payne said.

“Our intelligence team identified the risk of illicit substances being introduced into the correctional centre and worked with police to disrupt this criminal activity and prevent dangerous contraband from entering and being circulated.

“This is another outstanding example of our officers gathering intelligence and working closely with police to identify and charge those who would compromise the safety and security of our correctional centres by introducing illicit substances.

Chief Superintendent Payne thanked staff across both organisations who worked tirelessly to achieve the significant safety outcome.

Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Brad Grace, officer-in-charge of MOCS Far Northern said the QPS would continue to work with partners to target illicit activity within correctional centres.

“This investigation highlights the value of QPS working collaboratively with partner agencies to disrupt and prosecute people who commit drug offences in our state,” Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Grace said.