VicPol Corporate

Organised crime micro-documentary series

A multi-agency initiative detecting and disrupting the importation of drugs and firearms

Wednesday 7 October 2020 4:12am

Drugs in mail

Crime syndicates are constantly changing the way they move illicit drugs and firearms. Victoria Police have released a three-part micro-documentary series with exclusive access to the intricate and high-level operations that take place to disrupt organised crime and protect our community. Activities conducted at the airport’s mail facility form part of the multi-agency initiative.


Speaker 1: Just like, there’s something in there. Could be vials, a couple of vials.
Speaker 2: Sing out if you need a hand mate.
ABF employee: So the moment, just mass screening all the mail that's been selected by Vic Pol for us. Working here for quite a while we pick up on what things, certain drugs and weapons look like. We've probably got something here. As soon as we see something like that, we know we've seen it a million times before. We know it's definitely worth opening. It becomes like a game for us.
ABF employee 2: Here, we’ve got another one.
Speaker 3: The internet via the darknet has provided traffickers with another avenue of selling drugs. And they’re the drugs we’re seizing tonight.
Speaker 4: Bingo! So you know SNS is for nails. It’s like a powder stuff to do your fingernails. It’s not a bad idea, but it doesn’t work. So we open that up and there’s a little package in there. So this will be a crystalline substance. I did test the first one and it came up to methamphetamine.
Speaker 5: Full of muesli bars, with something extra. My guess is heroin.
ABF employee 3: Find it mate! Good! Good job!
Speaker 5: There you go. Oh hello, that looks like ice (methamphetamine).

Protecting the borders

Traffickers are constantly looking for ways to infiltrate the supply chain and import illegal drugs and firearms into the country. Victoria Police gives you an exclusive insight into Trident Taskforce, which combines the resources of state and federal law enforcement agencies to protect our borders and deter illegal activity. This is the second of a three-part micro-documentary series, with the final episode set for release on Friday 16 October.


In the port of Melbourne, we have 2.6 to 2.8 million containers coming in domestic mail. We have 70,000 to 120,000 mail items being moved around the country. It's open to infiltration by organised crime syndicates. Organised crime syndicates are generally at the forefront of technology, they are constantly changing the way that they move and ship items internationally and nationally.

So, we need to be smart and we need to be specific in terms of targeting. The overall goal of Taskforce Trident is to deter, disrupt and detect organised crime and identify the vulnerabilities that are allowing illicit goods to enter our country. In our taskforce we are represented by all the various law-enforcement agencies. Each partner agency brings their own skills and legislation to the taskforce. They bring investigation capacity, some agencies bring intelligence capacity. So we can further develop our profiling, we're able to target a lot more specifically. The waterfront has always traditionally been a tough nut to crack.

We’ve been able to forge some really strong relationships. Those partnerships are pivotal to ensuring vulnerabilities are addressed in the industry and make sure that anything that we're actively doing is for the safety and security of our country. Being able to stop drugs at the initial point of entry is quite significant because it reduces all the impact on our communities and all that additional offending.

Operation Crossway - Illicit imports

The ports of Victoria are often a hub of activity. Traffickers are constantly looking for ways to infiltrate the supply chain and import illegal drugs and firearms into the country. Victoria Police and multiple other law enforcement agencies deploy specialist units to patrol the waterfront and disrupt organised crime as part of Operation Crossway.


Caption: Crossway is a joint safety operation conducted around major ports in Victoria.

Truck driver: Atta boy! Get into it! I’ll stand back here so if he falls, I ain’t under him. Beautiful. Have a good day.

Senior Constable Dean Wood – Heavy Vehicle Unit: We're just generally checking compliance and roadworthiness, compliance with heavy vehicle national law. Basically, anything to do with operating a heavy vehicle. Driver drug testing, alcohol testing, anything that's relevant to driving a truck. We’re making sure everything's done correctly and legally.

Inspector Craig Darlow – Trident Taskforce: Without each law-enforcement agency able to bring their skills and techniques, it'd be very challenging environment to work in.

Superintendent Tori Rosemond – Victoria Maritime Operations, Australia Border Force: As you can see here, this is our Container Examination Facility, or as we call it, the CEF. An item can end up at this facility for a variety of reasons. So it might hit some sort of a targeting profile for us, so generally, it's intelligence-led. Or it might be something that comes to notice on the waterfront in the Customs controlled area that's there, that might have been tampered with or might have some sort of supply-chain integrity issue.

ABF CEF employee: Might be a big metal thing and it has something organic hidden inside it. It might be wooden furniture and it’s made out of metal, it might gun parts or something like that. So it depends on what it’s declared as and what's actually in the containers.

Senior Constable Katuana Rijks – Water Police: We often get called by port security to move other vessels on that shouldn't be here.

Reviewed 28 June 2021

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