Three drug labs busted as cops go after dealers
Police have busted three 'ice' and MDMA laboratories allegedly supplying Sydney's northwest, with their attentions now turning to the dealers who have been using them to stock up.
The officer in charge of the investigation has slammed one of the alleged drug cooks for having his six-year-old daughter at the toxic laboratory..
The labs were uncovered inside homes in Leets Vale north of Sydney, Marayong near Blacktown and Pymble on the city's leafy north shore, as the North West Metropolitan Regional Enforcement Squad wiped out a major alleged manufacturing crew they had been chasing for eight months.
The work of Strike Force Badajoz throughout Tuesday night brought the number of clandestine laboratories dismantled by police to five in less than 48 hours - a separate strike force found two more in Kemps Creek and Cecil Hills that morning.
Badajoz officers first swooped on Usema Hijaze, 42, just after 6pm after he had allegedly visited the Leets Vale lab with his six-year-old daughter.
He was stopped in his car as they left with police discovering $18,000 cash and drug manufacturing equipment in the vehicle.
Usema's 51-year-old brother Bahjet Hijaze was then arrested at the Leets Vale lab.
Moments later two crowds of riot squad police stormed the properties in Maryong and Pymble.
Joseph Hajje, 53, allegedly sustained a wound to his forehead trying to flee at the Marayong laboratory, where officers found $36,000 cash stuffed in a wall cavity.
Across the three laboratories police allege they seized 500g of methylamphetamine, liquid also believed to be meth and GBH along with equipment and chemicals.
Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Wright claimed it appeared to be a well-established syndicate and investigators also had leads on which dealers were using the labs to source their drugs.
"It appears they've been undertaking this activity for some time … even to the extent you've got money hidden in a wall cavity which gives you an indication it's profitable," he said.
"We may be contacting, or identifying people, who have been visiting and taking possession of their end product."
He said a determined investigator drove the search for evidence on the syndicate.
"It was basically the doggedness of the investigator that linked it all, drew the parties together," Ch-Insp Wright said.
"They have come under police notice before but unfortunately not with enough (evidence) … but a young investigator stuck to it, stumbled across some information and acted on that."
All three men were charged with manufacture prohibited drug (large commercial quantity) and other offences and denied bail in western Sydney courts this week. Their cases were adjourned to November.