A major investigation into the illicit drug trade in the South East resulted in the arrest last week of eight men, five of whom were from Naracoorte.
Six of the eight men arrested in dawn raids last Thursday appeared in court in Mount Gambier on Friday facing charges of trafficking illicit drugs including methamphetamine and cannabis.
The raids followed a 12-month investigation into a trafficking operation with family links in Naracoorte, Penola and Mount Gambier. All six of those who appeared in court were remanded in custody. Two had home detention bail applications heard this week, with the other four remanded until January after not applying for bail.
Two of the other accused were bailed and did not appear in court. Their identities have not been revealed.
Those arrested were:
- Aaron Devereux, 34, of Penola, charged with seven counts of trafficking a controlled drug.
- Jason Davies, 45, of Naracoorte, charged with 31 counts of trafficking a controlled drug and three counts of trafficking a commercial quantity of a drug.
- Aaron Brooksby, 39, of Naracoorte, charged with 10 counts of trafficking a controlled drug.
- James Hillman, 47, of Naracoorte, charged with 13 counts of trafficking a controlled drug and two counts of trafficking a commercial quantity of a drug.
- Daniel Millowick, 21, of Mount Gambier, charged with 16 counts of trafficking a controlled drug.
- Brenton Davies, 25, of Mount Gambier, charged with one count of possessing a firearm, one count of trafficking a controlled drug and one count of trafficking a commercial quantity of a drug.
Those bailed were a Naracoorte man, 21, charged with two counts of trafficking a controlled drug and a 19-year-old Naracoorte man charged with two counts of trafficking a controlled drug.
The court heard that police had intercepted phone and text messages where the accused men allegedly used coded language to make drug transactions.
They talked in terms of selling car or motorcycle parts, or fish, which police allege was code for quantities of drugs. They also discussed “paperwork” which they allege was code for payment amounts for the drugs.
A total of 43 police officers, led by the Serious and Organised Crime Branch (SOCB), searched nine properties in the three towns last Thursday morning, and made the eight arrests.
Also involved in the operation were detectives from the Mount Gambier CIB, the Dog Operations Unit and police from the Limestone Coast Local Service Area.
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Crameri, from the SOCB’s Drug and Organised Crime Task Force, said his branch regularly work collaboratively with local police to target the supply of methylamphetamine.
“Methylamphetamine has a damaging impact upon our community, particularly in regards to health and law and order. The harms associated with illicit drug use, including Ice, are often magnified in rural communities.
“This investigation, conducted under the framework of the SA Police Operation ATLAS which is focused on disrupting the methylamphetamine trade, is an example of police actively targeting drug dealers based in country locations.
“The community can assist with this effort by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333000 with information about the sale and manufacture of illicit drugs.”
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