VicPol probe leads to massive cache of stolen equipment and drugs

Photo: AAP

A police investigation into the theft of a stolen fishing boat has led to the arrests of two men accused of being part of an alleged organised crime ring and the seizure of stolen property and drugs valued at $1.8 million.

The probe began after two fishing boats worth more than $100,000 each were allegedly stolen from Williamstown in Melbourne’s southwest in separate incidents in February and March this year.

Police tracked down the boats and their trailers at a property in Heathcote, southeast of Bendigo, in early April.

A nearby property at Murchison was later searched, with allegedly stolen property and drugs seized and a 52-year-old old man arrested.

Among the items were 115 kilograms of cannabis and methylamphetamine, two firearms, and a truck, bobcat, motorbikes and generator that police say were all stolen.

Another search of a property in South Kingsville in Melbourne’s west uncovered boat registration stickers, drugs, a samurai sword and computers and phones.

The man arrested at Murchison has been remanded until he is scheduled to reappear at Shepparton Magistrates Court in July, charged with drug trafficking and possession, handling stolen goods and firearm offences.

A 53-year-old South Kingsville man is also expected to be charged with theft and drug offences.

Further arrests are expected as investigations continue.

“What started out as one stolen boat led to police dismantling what we will allege was an organised crime network,” Water Police Inspector Greg Barras said.

“It’s a reminder to anyone thinking of stealing and rebirthing boats that we have a dedicated team of marine detectives who will catch up with you.”


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