NAMED: Alleged ring leader of firearm theft spree revealed
ORGANISED criminal activity is likely behind a strings of alleged firearm thefts which targeted rural properties across the greater Rockhampton area.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Kevin Mawdsley this morning alleged four people charged in relation to the six-month crime spree were known criminal associates.
He said the alleged offenders - three males and one female - had been apprehended in recent weeks following extensive investigations as part of Operation Sierra Decompress.
Police will further allege the syndicate was led by 39-year-old Thangool man Jye Holt, who was apprehended earlier this week.
"As a result of a search warrant, the main offender was arrested and charged on Monday. He appeared in Rockhampton Magistrates Courts on Tuesday and was remanded in custody."
Holt has since been charged with 29 offences, including unlawful supply of weapons, burglary, drugs offences relating to supply and trafficking, and three counts of entering a dwelling with intent.
"He was certainly a concerning individual that we wanted to move on quickly, it's pleasing that he's been remanded in custody," admitted Det Act Snr Sgt Mawdsley.
A 30-year-old Kawana man, a 46-year-old Park Avenue man and a 29-year-old Cawarral woman were also arrested by Rockhampton police - though some arrests occurred weeks ago.
The young woman was, however, taken into custody on Tuesday following the execution of a search warrant at a Cawarral address.
"That female was charged in relation to offences including drug possession. We'll also be alleging that she was involved with the trafficking of dangerous drugs."
"More importantly, or more concerningly rather, she was (allegedly) located with a shortened rifle which is a serious offence under the Weapons Act," said Det Act Snr Sgt Mawdsley.
The woman was later released on bail and is now due to appear in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on October 15.
Det Act Snr Sgt Mawdsley said it appeared the alleged offenders had isolated their crimes to the Rockhampton area and were unlikely to be involved in similar incidents at Mackay.
"These (alleged) offenders don't have any links to outlaw gangs, but their criminal activity was certainly organised like them," he said.
"These types of offences, it's clear that it's not just one person committing those offences, which is why the investigation was as dedicated as it was."
He added two stolen firearms had been recovered this week, though it was unclear if any had previously been discharged.
It is understood 17 firearms were unlawfully taken from an Alton Downs property in a related incident.
A 46-year-old Park Avenue Man now faces 17 charges including enter dwelling and firearm theft as well as additional outstanding matters relating to property and drug offences.
He has been remanded to reappear in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on October 7.
The Kawana man has also been charged with enter dwelling with intent to steal firearms and is due to appear in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on October 7.
Det Act Snr Sgt Mawdsley confirmed police investigations were ongoing in a bid to recover the remaining missing firearms.
If you have information for police, contact Policelink at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting, or Crime Stoppers via crimestoppersqld.com.au.