License article

Melbourne-Brisbane airport drug ring busted

A major drug syndicate that allegedly used commercial airline flights to smuggle tonnes of marijuana between Melbourne and Brisbane has been dismantled by a national police taskforce.

The Gold Coast-based syndicate allegedly exploited flaws in airport security to transport $8 million worth of cannabis from Melbourne since last November, with couriers allegedly stuffing up to 22 kilograms of the drug into each suitcase.

Victoria Police raided properties in Ascot Vale, Maribyrnong and Avondale Heights last week, seizing two cars and more than $250,000 in cash, jewellery and designer handbags.

Huy Quoc Tran, 33, of Ascot Vale, has been charged with drug trafficking offences and dealing in the proceeds of crime.

A joint police operation code-named Lima Wood also raided six properties in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, following the arrest of a man with 40 kilograms of cannabis at Brisbane Airport last Tuesday.

At two houses on the Gold Coast, police found $400,000 cash and 23 kilograms of cannabis concealed in walls, while several firearms and six luxury cars, including a Lamborghini Diablo, were confiscated.


Six men appeared before the Southport Magistrates Court on a range of serious drug charges.

Police allege the syndicate had operated for two years, using drug "mules" to make return trips between Victoria and Brisbane every three days.

Queensland Police Detective Superintendent Mick Niland said there was no evidence that airport staff in Melbourne or Brisbane assisted the alleged traffickers.

Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Carly Dixon said security screening at airports was “primarily focused on the safety and security of aircraft and their passengers”.

Both Tullamarine Airport and Brisbane Airport follow standardised domestic security screening policies set by the federal government.

A spokeswoman for Department of Infrastructure and Transport Minister Warren Truss would not comment on security procedures as police continued to investigate the interstate drug ring.