Western Victorian drug ring foiled after police raid Stawell home

A western Victorian drug ring was foiled when police swooped on a Stawell residence on Friday morning and caught a man with ice, cannabis and heroin valued at $100,000.

The Southern Grampians Divisional Tasking Team and the dog squad discovered 2kg of cannabis, 104g methyl amphetamine and 8.25g heroin.

The 69-year-old man was also found with drug paraphernalia and $22,440 in cash at his Fisher Street home.

Detective Sergeant Mark James of the Hamilton police crime investigation unit said they caught the suspect in the middle of making a drug deal and charged him with the high-end offence of trafficking commercial quantities of drugs.

“We caught him in the middle of making a deal when we went through the door," he said.

"​He has a significant criminal history, including a conviction for trafficking drugs in Portland.”

The man appeared at Horsham Magistrates Court on Tuesday and was further remanded to appear at a committal hearing on August 30.

The man was known to police as a “high-level supplier” of drugs to towns and cities across western Victoria.  

Sergeant Ryan Nelson of Portland police said he was supplying drugs to “mid-level dealers” at Stawell, Ararat, Horsham, Hamilton and Portland, while living behind the Stawell police station.

“He was only a block away,” he said. 

“It was a long and detailed joint investigation between Western Divisions Two and Four and it has resulted in successfully taking these drugs off the street,” he said. 

Stawell Sergeant Bryan Anderson also commended officers and police units involved in the drug and cash bust.  

“Police units worked very hard on the investigation and gathering the intelligence, and the search warrant was executed at a very appropriate time.”

But Detective Sergeant Mark James warned the man’s arrest could lead to a drug drought in the south-west, which could result in a “significant” flow-on effect.

“If there is a drug drought it can lead to an increase in issues such as domestic violence and mental health, as the supply of drugs dries up to regular users,” he said. 

Anyone experiencing mental health issues or who is involved in a domestic violence situation should visit beyondblue.org.au or contact Lifeline on 131 114.