Police arrest 300 in alcohol crackdown

Police arrest 300 in alcohol crackdown

More than 300 people have been arrested in a two-month crackdown on liquor outlets.

Police carried out 301 search warrants as part of Operation Wowser, a nationally coordinated operation focusing on “bottle stores” – those where alcohol is sold.

They made 311 arrests, seized 3,220 litres of alcohol and 139g of methamphetamine.

Alcohol was found warehoused at 44 locations, with 2657 bottles and cans seized.

Officers also seized $111,154 in cash, 19 firearms and ammunition.

A wide range of charges have been laid, including conspiracy to supply beer, wine and spirits, manufacturing methamphetamine, participating in an organised criminal group, unlawful possession of a firearm and threat to kill.

“This was a sustained programme of enforcement to combat booze and disrupt organised crime groups” said Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess.

“Bottle stores are hubs for criminal offending. The people who run them are often not only dealing alcohol, but also methamphetamine.

They invariably receive stolen property, take payments for booze and are involved in organised crime groups.

“Such outlets cause misery in communities and we are sending a clear message that they won’t be tolerated.

“We will continue to protect our communities from the harm caused by booze merchants and stamp out the anti-social behaviour they create.”

Police are trying to seize assets from 47 of those arrested. They will have to prove they are not the proceeds of criminal activity.

Mr Burgess said he was confident the operation had caused “significant disruption” to liquor outlets and warned dealers they would continue to be the subject of close police attention.

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