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Kids caught up in underground drug lab raids

UPDATE: Children as young as 14 were caught in a sweeping set of property raids which stretched from Highfields to the Lockyer Valley, targeting illegal drug production and use in the region.

Three shipping containers buried deep underground on a 200 hectare Grantham property uncovered more than 200 cannabis plants produced in a sophisticated hydroponic set-up this week.

REVEALED: Inside the secret underground drug lab

Fifteen Australian Defence Force specialists backed up more than 40 Toowoomba police and Tactical Crime Squad officers in seizing the extensive drug haul on Thursday.

Darling Downs Tactical Crime Squad Acting Senior Sergeant Mick Loveday said the Grantham raid closed Operation Oscar Glyph which saw a total of 46 properties searched since Monday.

Some of the items found during police raids that uncovered an elaborate underground drug lab.
Some of the items found during police raids that uncovered an elaborate underground drug lab.

"It is certainly something that will make an effect on the drug supply network out there," he said.

"Even though the people are not involved with each other, they're all involved in some way in the drug network."

Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. Darling Downs Tactical Crime Squad Acting Senior Sergeant Mick Loveday.
Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. Darling Downs Tactical Crime Squad Acting Senior Sergeant Mick Loveday. Bev Lacey

Snr Sgt Loveday said no suburb had been spared in the sweeping raids, with police acting on critical information from the public and confidential informants that officers had cultivated in recent months.

He said "magic mushrooms" grown in a specially-modified fridge were located at Grantham along with an intricate water filtration system funnelled to the underground bunkers.

Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016
Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016 Bev Lacey

He said police acted on precise information from the public and with ground penetrating radar from the 15 assisting ADF officers, the elaborate underground set-up and tunnels were located.

"I've seen that type of set-up before (and) if you're going to go to the trouble of burying things underground, you're going to have a very sophisticated system with it," Snr Sgt Loveday said.

"There was a watering system they were using that involved four large charcoal filters as well as ultra violent filters to filter water from a dam to make it pure enough to put through the hydroponic system.

"This wasn't just cannabis growing in some dirt, it was a hydroponic set-up."

Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. Magic Mushrooms. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016
Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. Magic Mushrooms. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016 Bev Lacey

Seven native pythons kept illegally and a number of illegal firearms were located at the various properties, as well as a tranquiliser dart gun at Grantham.

More than $5000 in cash from the sale of methamphetamines was seized, along with 20g of ice, more than 1kg of dried cannabis and 200 cannabis plants, at the properties.

Several sophisticated containers used to conceal dangerous drugs were also located.

Police have so far charged 59 people, aged 14 to late 50s, with a combined 180 charges as a result of the raids.

Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. Darling Downs Tactical Crime Squad Acting Senior Sergeant Mick Loveday.
Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. A number of people are on multiple charges. Darling Downs Tactical Crime Squad Acting Senior Sergeant Mick Loveday. Bev Lacey

"We take our time to do investigations to make sure we locate all items," Snr Sgt Loveday said.

"We like to think we're one step ahead of the offenders."

Investigations continue.

Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. Cannabis. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016
Police conduct drug raids in the city and surrounding areas, confiscating an array of drugs, implements used to conceal drugs, and firearms. Cannabis. A number of people are on multiple charges. July 8, 2016 Bev Lacey

10AM: Drugs, magic mushrooms, weapons and snakes have been seized in police raids that infiltrated a large scale underground network in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.

The concealed tunnels and rooms which included a high quality and complex water filtration system was discovered as part of Operation Oscar Glyph, a week long drug and property operation which ended today.

Magic mushrooms seized as part of Operation Oscar Glyph.
Magic mushrooms seized as part of Operation Oscar Glyph. Contributed

46 search warrants were executed in Toowoomba, Highfields and Grantham with 59 people arrested on 180 charges.

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Officers located more than a kilogram of cannabis, over 200 cannabis plants, magic mushroom, seven native pythons, over $5000 from the sale of ice, 20g of ice, a number of illegal firearms, knuckles duster and knives and a quantity of chemicals and equipment used for the manufacture of ice and cannabis.

Cannabis seized as part of Operation Oscar Glyph.
Cannabis seized as part of Operation Oscar Glyph. Contributed

The operation was conducted by the Darling Downs Tactical Crime Squad, Tactical Action Team, State Flying Squad and State Drug Dog staff and Australian Defence Force personnel.

The 59 people charged will appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court early next month.

Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Topics:  cannabis drugs ice magic mushrooms toowoomba