Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Queensland wallopers never change

Even putting a chief of police in jail has not slowed them down. Now it's drug trafficking. Good to see that the CMC have finally got off their fat behinds, though. Given the CMC track record, however, they could still go to water over this

THE biggest corruption scandal since the Fitzgerald inquiry, with claims of police in major drug trafficking, is set to rock the force. The allegations centre on the Gold Coast and are believed to concern some members of the Queensland Police Service, The Courier-Mail reports. The Crime and Misconduct Commission is tipped to call a public inquiry into allegations Gold Coast police have been involved with organised crime gangs, including outlaw bikies, importing drugs and dealing them through some of the Glitter Strip's nightclubs.

More than 20 officers are understood to have been hauled before secret CMC hearings to forcibly answer questions or give evidence against allegedly crooked colleagues. Phone taps, listening devices and covert surveillance are believed to have been used to gather evidence. "This will be the biggest corruption scandal since Fitzgerald," a senior police source said. "It will unfortunately drag down the reputation of the police service once again."

A multimillion-dollar cocaine bust on the Gold Coast last year is believed to have helped spark the CMC probe, which has been running for several months. The CMC is investigating allegations cocaine went missing from a Gold Coast police station. The Surfers Paradise police station was raided on Sunday, as well as another Coast station.

On Monday, in a separate incident, a Surfers Paradise constable was stood down on full pay pending an investigation after a drug bust in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.

The scandal follows last year's Operation Capri which resulted in the damning CMC report Dangerous Liaisons. "This will make Capri look very small," the police source said. "We're talking about allegations of police involvement in importing drugs into Australia and distributing them through the Gold Coast nightclub scene. "Police on the Coast, by nature, work pretty closely with the seedier side of the tourism industry and it would seem some may have fallen for temptation and dragged the rest of their colleagues down with them."

Another source said drug dealers were blatantly plying their trade in nightclubs - with off-duty police present.

It is believed key players have not been questioned by the CMC, leading to speculation a public inquiry was imminent. Yesterday, the CMC said suggestions of a "major drug trafficking investigation" were "incorrect". But a spokeswoman said illegal drugs were part of an ongoing police misconduct probe, Operation Tesco, and would not rule out a public inquiry.


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