NSW Police aim to tackle rogue truckies running millions in drugs, guns and prostitutes
- The Daily Telegraph
- June 30, 2014
- $93m seized in contraband in four years
- Bikies buying small companies to help move guns, prostitutes, drugs and cash
But an officer suddenly notices something awry.
As he later told The Daily Telegraph, a quick observation of the 22-year-old driver showed a man quickly becoming “nervous and his story didn’t add up”.
A search of the car turns up $600,000 in cash — just part of the $93 million in contraband seized by officers in a highway crime crackdown using training and techniques employed by US state troopers.
The $93 million in contraband seized by patrol teams over the past four years is mainly drugs and unexplained cash. Police have also discovered bikies have shifted into trucking, buying small to medium companies to move drugs, guns and prostitutes.
“Our traffic and highway patrol command officers are identifying and prosecuting criminals on a daily basis who are involved in serious cross-border crime,’’ Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn said.
“Two recent intercepts by NSW highway patrol led to the discovery of a large number of weapons and drugs by South Australian police,” she said.
Police have known for years that contraband, especially drugs, had to be moved around the country and that highways were the most logical route. But it is only in recent years that a concerted effort using specially trained officers has been deployed.
A vital part of the police operations is the use of the Roads and Maritime Services truck inspection sites and their staff around the state.
“Most truckies are hardworking people, but there is a criminal element using the highways and they are now being targeted,’’ Ms Burn said.
Special codes and stickers on vehicles are used to let criminals know the truck is available to transport drugs.
The most common signs are an eight-ball sticker and the red thumbs-up sign.
Police have also uncovered two drug laboratories being shifted in the back of semitrailers.
Bikie groups are also behind prostitutes being moved along the highways to towns, or used at truck stops to service drivers on their road trips.
“We can’t elaborate on methodology, training or delivery, but the community can be confident we have embedded a tried and trusted international concept into our traffic and highway patrol command enforcement program,” Ms Burn said.
Automatic numberplate recognition and in-car video have also given police the edge in responding to crime on our highways. “Officers are now more than ever highly capable and experienced in the detection, prosecution and prevention of serious crime on our major highways, at the same time helping us achieve the lowest road toll in 90 years last year,” Ms Burn said
More than 60 per cent of the state’s 1254 highway patrol officers have undergone the special training program called CATCH.