Mass drug raids across the Illawarra

We’re coming for you. 

That was the warning from an Illawarra police chief as region-wide, simultaneous drug raids nabbed at least a dozen people on Wednesday.

Another 50 people were likely to be arrested in coming weeks, Lake Illawarra police commander Superintendent Zoran Dzevlan said, as police moved to put “a significant dent in the drug distribution trade” across the Illawarra and South Coast.

“The message is very clear; if you’ve been dealing in drugs, expect a knock on your door,” Supt Dzevlan said.

Police raided eight homes at Unanderra, Warrawong, Warilla, Corrimal, Port Kembla and Cringila about 8.30am on Wednesday.

As a result, seven kilograms of MDMA, ice, cannabis, cocaine and heroin were seized.

The drugs’ street value hasn’t been determined. 

Ten people were arrested during the morning raids, and Supt Dzevlan flagged another 10 would follow by the day’s end. 

By 2pm, twelve people – eight men and four women – were being spoken to at Wollongong and Lake Illawarra police stations.

Charges, ranging from ongoing drug supply to the large commercial supply of prohibited drugs, were expected to be laid. 

Supt Dzevlan said those arrested had played varying roles in the drug trade. 

Wednesday's blitz was in addition to the daily work of police targeting drug crime, he said. 

“Wollongong and Lake Illawarra have their own drug units who consistently work on drug operations, however this was a concerted effort between two commands for a joint strike force to target the distribution of drugs across the Illawarra.”  

The raids were part of Strike Force Worra, set up by Wollongong and Lake Illawarra police in October to target illicit drug supply.

Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Supt Dzevlan said there were a number of search warrants still to be executed.

“The operation hasn't ceased yet,” he said.

One-hundred police officers, from five southern region police commands, were part of Wednesday’s sting. 

Morning raids in the suburbs

Residents of usually-sleepy suburban streets woke to find their neighbourhoods at the centre of drug raids on Wednesday.

It was about 8.30am when officers moved in, simultaneously searching eight homes across the Illawarra – from Corrimal to Warilla.

On Wentworth Street at Port Kembla, the police presence brought residents – some in their pyjamas – out onto the street. 

It was rubbish collection day and, as a garbage truck dodged police cars to pick up residents’ bins, detectives were also collecting. 

Police later revealed seven kilograms of drugs were seized during eight raids.

Elsewhere, the day’s mail was being delivered as detectives searched a man outside a home on Albert Street, Unanderra.

A grey Toyota ute in the driveway also had the officers’ attention.

Next door, an older man strolled out to check his letterbox, glanced over at the police operation and headed back inside, clearly unfazed by what was going on.