Two bikie groups based in South Australia - the Rebels and the Finks - are allegedly behind an international crime syndicate distributing methamphetamines across three countries.
SA Police (SAPOL) have seized drugs and weapons as a result of operation Jackknife, an international effort involving officers from the Royal Malaysia Police, Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
Sixteen people from the Eyre Peninsula and metropolitan Adelaide were arrested on offences related to drug manufacturing, drug trafficking, firearms offences and electricity theft.
It is alleged they were part of a syndicate exporting controlled drugs and precursors from Malaysia to neighbouring countries and SA.
Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Dickson said the operation had brought to an end a joint enterprise led by two outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) to bring methamphetamine into SA.
"Police will allege the offending was organised, that a total of six offenders were either associates, members or office-holders of either the Finks or the Rebels motorcycle groups and that this police activity has had a significant impact on this criminal group," he said.
"We will be alleging this operation has brought to an end a joint enterprise by two OMCGs to bring a significant amount of methamphetamine into South Australia.
"We know OMCGs don't hesitate to carry out violent crimes against one another, but this is clear evidence that when there is money and drugs involved, they'll put aside their differences and work together for the proceeds of crime.
"But this co-operative approach by law enforcement authorities has shut down that enterprise. It's been an extremely positive outcome for communities both in Australia and Malaysia through the seizure of drugs and these arrests."
Cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine seized by SA police
SAPOL searched 19 properties in SA and seized:
- 900g of methylamphetamine
- 58 cannabis plants
- 17kg of dried cannabis
- 1,150 ecstasy tables
- 12g of cocaine
- 40g of cannabis resin
- 250ml of fantasy
- 4.6 litres of hypophosphorous acid - allegedly used in the manufacture of methamphetamine
- Two firearms
- Prescribed equipment used for the hydroponic production of cannabis
It followed raids undertaken by Malaysian police in their country on six properties in May that resulted in the arrest of 24 people and the seizure of drugs and seven luxury vehicles.
Assistant Commissioner Dickson said operation Jacknife began last year when police noticed a number of people travelling regularly to Malaysia.
He said the amphetamines seized in SA equated to about 30,000 street deals, while 4.6 litres of the precursor, hypophosphorous, equated to about 120,000 street deals.
"While it was great to seize those drugs and other paraphernalia, the greatest value of this operation was the success that this operation has had on both the disruption on the organised crime groups in South Australia and Malaysia," Assistant Commissioner Dickson said.
He also thanked the Royal Malaysian Police and AFP for their assistance.
AFP Adelaide manager, Commander Matt Varley, said the joint operation highlighted the effectiveness of the AFP's international network to combat organised crime within Australia and overseas.
Commander Varley said the impact of outlawed motorcycle gangs was not just felt in Australia but had an impact on other regional countries.
"This operation shows that both South Australia police, the AFP and our friends in Malaysia absolutely have to work together to tackle this crime that crosses borders," he said.
"The NAGS (National Anti-Gangs Squad) model combines the expertise of the AFP and state police and provides enhanced opportunities to target gang-related crime in Australia and overseas. These results should serve as a warning to organised crime groups that we will track you not just across the country but also around the world.
"The ability of the AFP's international network to take intelligence about crime occurring here in Adelaide and use that to disrupt a large international criminal enterprise is a significant achievement."