A police strike force that smashed open a local drug ring earlier this year has turned its attention to shady industry players who are believed to be using Illawarra construction and development businesses to traffic drugs from Sydney into the region.
Police issued a public appeal for information on Tuesday - encouraging members of the public and even employees to dob in local businesses that could be laundering money or moving illegal drugs.
The appeal comes three months after Lake Illawarra's Strike Force Mote was formed to investigate drugs being supplied out of a Port Kembla mechanic shop, AC Automotive.
Investigators swooped on the Military Road business on September 30, seizing almost half a kilogram of methylamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, a firearm and ammunition.
The business's owner, 27-year-old Cameron Hooper, has been charged with commercial drug supply crimes, as has Primbee man Leti 'Sammy' Tugaga, 27, and 39-year-old Faras Abdul-Hamid, who was arrested at a Shearwater Dr, Berkeley home.
On November 17, investigators went on to arrest the syndicate's alleged upline supplier, a 33-year-old Guildford man. Police seized $320,000 cash and $1.4 million worth of drugs from his home, including 16kg of MDMA, 3kg of methylamphetamine and a kilo each of heroin and cocaine.
Appealing for information on Tuesday, Lake Illawarra acting superintendent Dan Richardson said the Guildford seizures could be just the beginning.
"It [the Illawarra syndicate] could be bigger than that," he said.
"Inquiries have led our detectives to believe that there's a drug [supply and money] laundering syndicate operating in the area and this syndicate's operating within construction and development companies.
"There must be members of the public out there that are aware that this activity's going on."
Supt Richardson said the drugs were believed to have come from Sydney and included "MDMA, cocaine, heroin - the drugs are unlimited".
Supt Richardson called on community members to report "anything that's unusual within the companies they may be working in and anything that they believe may be suspicious in relation to the supply of prohibited drugs".
Contact Lake Illawarra Police District or Crime Stoppers (1800 333 000) to provide information that could assist police.
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