Taskforce Lunar lay further charges following cocaine seizure

Tuesday 24 October 2023 4:13pm – 

Police have charged a man and seized a further 850g of cocaine following last week’s activity targeting organised crime syndicates linked to illicit tobacco.

Thirty six warrants were executed over the course of Wednesday and Thursday last week, including at a tobacconist on Westgarth Street in Northcote.

Officers from the VIPER Taskforce executed the warrant on Wednesday afternoon, seizing illicit tobacco, e cigarettes, 2kg of cannabis and a code protected lock box.

A 40-year-old Northcote man arrested at the time wouldn’t give investigators the pin for the lock box.

Investigators subsequently broke into the box on Friday of last week, which contained what appears to approximately 850g of cocaine.

A further search warrant was executed at the premises this morning.

The 40-year-old Northcote man has subsequently been charged with traffick large commercial quantity cocaine.

He will appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court later today.

Detective Senior Sergeant Leigh Howse, VIPER Taskforce said:

“As we have said before, we know who the main players in these syndicates are, and we will continue doing everything we can to directly target those people in any way possible.

Police also seized a Jeep Cherokee.

Last week’s warrants formed part of the Taskforce Lunar investigation into organised crime syndicates believed to be heavily involved in the illicit tobacco trade and an ongoing dispute for profit.

Investigators continue to appeal to anyone, especially store owners and staff, who has information about these incidents and who is responsible to come forward.

Anyone with information about these incidents or with further information about illicit tobacco is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

“While we have arrested a number of people already, we will relentlessly keep working our way up until we get all the way to the top of these organised crime groups. This behaviour will not be tolerated.”