TWO men have been arrested and remanded in custody and another has been served a notice to appear in court following further investigations into an alleged Warwick drug trafficking syndicate.
Keith Patrick McVeigh, 55, and Warren Peter McDonald, 44, were both denied bail in Warwick Magistrates Court yesterday.
The third, a 76-year-old Warwick man, can't be named until he faces court later this month.
Warwick Criminal Investigation Branch and Homicide Cold Case Unit detectives began operation Mike Explore in August in relation to serious drug-related charges following searches of Karara, Emu Vale and Massie properties believed to be worth more than $2.5 million dollars.
High-profile lawyer Terry O'Gorman, who travelled from Brisbane yesterday, represented McVeigh.
It's alleged the 76-year-old unnamed man, along with McVeigh and McDonald, were behind a large-scale marijuana plantation at a Karara property between 1996 and 1998.
It's further alleged the syndicate undertook large-scale marijuana production at a Rocky Creek Rd, Emu Vale property from 2003 through to 2014.
The 76-year-old man, who is also represented by Mr O'Gorman, was also allegedly found to be in possession of marijuana and a large sum of money located in a buried shipping container during a search of a Massie property.
It's believed McVeigh was arrested at a property on Stevens Rd, Swan Creek yesterday, while McDonald was arrested at the Yangan Quarry on Strudwicks Rd shortly before 11am.
McVeigh has been charged with two counts of trafficking, two counts of production of cannabis exceeding the specified quantity, and possession of the Emu Vale property used in connection with the alleged crimes. He was also charged with possessing cannabis.
McDonald was charged with two counts of trafficking in cannabis, two counts of production of cannabis exceeding the specified quantity and possession of the Karara property used in connection with these crimes.
The 76-year-old has been charged with three counts each of trafficking dangerous drugs and produce dangerous drug.
He is also charged with one count each of possession of a dangerous drug exceeding the specified quantity, possession of property derived from trafficking, possession of instructions for production of dangerous drugs and supply of a concealable firearm. The firearm charge relates to a police revolver allegedly stolen during a break and enter at the Stanthorpe police station in 1995, where a number of police and private firearms were stolen.
Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Dowie said that together, the Warwick CIB and Homicide Cold Case Unit had identified and dismantled an alleged entrenched marijuana production and trafficking syndicate.
"It will be alleged that this syndicate has been criminally active for many years and has played a major role in producing and trafficking cannabis," Detective Acting Superintendent Dowie said.
"This will have a significant impact on cannabis availability and criminal activity in the Warwick and wider area."
McVeigh and McDonald have been remanded in custody until November 24.
The 76-year-old man is due to appear in Warwick Magistrates Court also on November 24.
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