14 people charged in Karratha drug operations

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Karratha Detectives investigating officers Detective Senior Constable Andrew Thompson and Detective First Class Constable Michael Hitchcock with the 112g meth and other items allegedly seized.
Camera IconKarratha Detectives investigating officers Detective Senior Constable Andrew Thompson and Detective First Class Constable Michael Hitchcock with the 112g meth and other items allegedly seized. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Police have charged 14 people with a combined 280 charges in a series of operations targeting the possession and supply of methylamphetamine in the Pilbara region.

The alleged offenders were arrested this week after three simultaneous operations focused on criminal syndicates and drug-dealing in the Karratha area, started in late 2018, came to a head.

Most of the 11 men and three women are Karratha residents and range in age from 29 to 48-years-old.

The charges against them include conspiracy to sell or supply, selling or supplying and possession of prohibited drugs, with Karratha Detective Senior Sergeant Carlos Correia describing most of the accused as alleged “mid-range” drug-dealers.

He said the number of alleged dealers charged was a significant result for a community of Karratha’s size.

“Looking at it from a Karratha point-of-view, if you take out... 14 people who were in the business of selling drugs, that is significant result for a small town like Karratha,” he said.

“It is significant in that it will reduce crime, and the evidence has been in the past (that) if we take out large amounts of meth or any drug in a small community, it has a big effect.”

Police seized 112g of meth — worth an estimated $112,000 — as well as small amounts of MDMA, cannabis and other drugs and several thousand dollars cash during the operations.

The meth was seized when police arrested two men at Karratha Airport arriving on a flight from Perth on January 26, after one of them threw a package in a bin upon seeing police approaching.

Detectives allegedly found the other drugs, drug paraphernalia and cash during more recent searches of eight properties in Karratha, Millars Well, Bulgarra and Nickol.

Det. Sen. Sgt Carlos Correia said the operations had begun after police received information from community members.

“It’s information from the public that helps us conduct these operations,” he said.

“Our efforts don’t stop here. We won’t tolerate illicit drugs being dealt in our local community and we will continue our efforts targeting those who are involved.”

South Hedland Detectives and Pilbara dual-purpose police dog Maygar assisted with the operation.

The alleged offenders are due to appear in Karratha Magistrate’s Court over February and March.

If you have any information in relation to drug dealing, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a report at www.crimestopperswa.com.au.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails