Police from NSW and south-east Queensland targeted criminal networks in the Northern rivers and Gold Coast border region.
Over the two-week period of “Operation Viking” authorities attended properties in Grafton, Tweed Heads and Ewingsdale, Bilambil Heights, and Carrara.
Officers located more than 40 firearms, more than $150,000 cash, luxury cars and jewelry, and a variety of prohibited drugs including methylamphetamine, cocaine, GHB, and cannabis.
Police believe the number of drugs seized has a combined estimated street value of $4.5 million.
Of note during the raids, police found two hydroponic cannabis grow labs in Carrara and 2.5 kilograms of cannabis.
They also found and seized chemicals and equipment used to make drugs at Seelands, near Grafton.
NSW Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Jason Weinstein added an underground bunker used for Mongols bikie gang meetings was also discovered in the Grafton area
“It was a residential property and they had created a bunker and inside that bunker was Mongols memorabilia, there was a bar, a motorbike,” he said.
“It was a location where the Mongols in that particular chapter believed they were free from police activity where they could congregate, talk about business and socialize.”
I have added about 40 per cent of bike groups are operating in the NSW northern region.
“The problem is quite large,” he said.
Weinstein said 13 people in NSW were arrested during the operation.
Meanwhile, Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Katherine Innes said 54 people were arrested.
“It wasn’t solely to arrest offenders it was to gain a significant intelligence briefing about what the crime landscape is in the northern borders and Queensland and what connection they have to transnational crime entities,” Weinstein said.
Weinstein said the operation has put a dent in illegal activities between NSW and Queensland.
“The northern border zone has the state’s largest OMCG population with a significant crossover between NSW and QLD,” he said.
“We know criminal organizations were establishing themselves across the North Coast because of its lucrative drug market and a perceived idea the area is relatively free of scrutiny from law enforcement.
“I’m confident that following these two weeks that perception has changed.”
Innes said the operation should “serve as a warning” to anyone looking to carry out illegal criminal activity along the border.