Brazen Rebels bikies ordered another $10 million worth of speed from the United Kingdom, even though two earlier imports were intercepted.
The Tasmanian Eastern Shore Chapter were banking on becoming millionaires for a $194,000 outlay.
Drugs imported from overseas come at a cut price to those manufactured in Australia and the bikies tried to circumvent customs by using an international parcel courier and what they thought were untraceable payments.
Little did they know they had been monitored since April by a high-level task force led by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC).
The Rebels’ alleged supplier, from Liverpool in the United Kingdom, sent two packages but were confiscated in Hobart before delivery on June 23 and 24.
The drugs were barely concealed in the packages which weighed two kilograms each and were collectively worth about $10 million.
Undeterred, and in a bid to outsmart customs, the gang then allegedly ordered another two packages to be delivered to Gold Coast members of the chapter who’d relocated to Robina and Benowa in late 2013.
“I think confidence is (the) right (word), but the detections in customs in particular were seen as business as usual,” ACC Queensland manager Carey Stent said.
“They did expect that there would be a cost of doing their business and losing those packages didn’t have an overarching impact on the syndicate.
“It was seen as the cost of doing business.”
A package destined for Queensland was seized on Friday and authorities delivered another to a Carrara caravan park on the Gold Coast on Monday afternoon.
Two alleged Rebels, aged 25 and 28, were arrested, one of whom police will allege organised the delivery.
Three other men were taken into custody in Tasmania, two are alleged bikies.
United Kingdom police in Liverpool arrested a 27-year-old man from Kidderminster.
It will be alleged all drugs delivered to Queensland would be posted to Tasmania, to be distribution through the Rebels criminal network.
“We allege they were going to import a constant of drugs, so we’ve stopped that from occurring,” acting detective superintendent Peter Bodel, from the Australian Federal Police’s national anti-gang squad said.
“We’ve broken the source, the people organising it and the people who were going to traffic down in Tasmania, so I think it was an important success.”
A total of eight kilograms of amphetamines were seized as part of the operation, taking tens of thousands hits of speed off the streets.
The joint investigation was led by the ACC’s Eligo Task Force, which targets serious organised crime, and also involved Australia’s National Anti-Gangs Squad, the financial intelligence organisation Austrac, Australian Federal Police, and Customs authorities.
Since the Eligo Task Force was set up in 2012, it has seized more than $665 million worth of drugs and assets, including $38.5 million in cash.
The five men arrested in Australia were charged under commonwealth law and are facing life in prison.
They were due to face court on Tuesday on drug trafficking, possession and importation charges.
The man arrested in the UK has been released on police bail pending further inquiries.