Other crime case studies
CMC–QPS partnership investigates spate of armed robberies and police officer murder
Using its new weapons general referral, the CMC in October 2011 commenced a partnership with QPS Task Force Resolve to investigate a series of armed robberies of hotels and clubs on the Gold Coast, dating back to 2006, that culminated in an armed robbery in May 2011 during which a police officer was murdered.
Multiple hearings held since November 2011 have secured considerable evidence in relation to the reported armed robberies, previously unreported ‘home invasions’, Weapons Act offences and the source of many firearms used in criminal activity. The hearings have thrown a spotlight on a number of intersecting criminal networks active in South-East Queensland over several years.
A number of people have already been charged with serious criminal offences. The investigation is continuing.
In April 2012, a 22-year-old man was fatally shot in the car park of a Brisbane shopping centre. The QPS investigation of the murder soon established that persons of interest to the investigation were members or associates of an outlaw motorcycle gang.
Because of the Hydra general referral relating to specified criminal activity on the part of members and/or associates of OMCGs, the CMC was able to respond rapidly to the QPS request for assistance, and hearings began in May. The investigation is ongoing.
The Hydra referral has also supported the CMC’s rapid response to assisting the QPS in investigating escalating incidences of violence in South-East Queensland in 2012 related to conflict within or between OMCGs.
Contributing to Australia-wide strategic intelligence
We provided detailed submissions to the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) for a series of strategic reports presenting a current picture of criminality in Australia.
We contributed to a joint intelligence assessment produced by analysts from a range of agencies, including the ACC, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the QPS. This looked at the involvement of a particular ethnic group in organised crime activity and made recommendations for detecting and deterring that activity.
As a result of our work on target development, we referred a number of crime matters to the ACC, the QPS and other agencies.
We cooperated with the ACC in providing specialised training on recruiting and managing confidential human intelligence sources to CMC, QPS and ACC staff. We also developed and implemented a specialised database allowing for the secure registration and management of information from confidential human intelligence sources.
We also uploaded documents such as information reports, offender profiles and post-operational assessments to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Database, as well as disseminating intelligence and information to other law enforcement and integrity agencies.
Rapid identification and arrest of alleged recidivist offender
CMC investigators, using skills and software programs obtained during recent training in South Australia, discovered a suspect sharing child exploitation material online. They identified that the man was using free Wi-Fi connectivity in the precincts of a Brisbane library.
The offender was arrested almost immediately, and found to have a number of USB storage devices with more than 15 GB of child exploitation material. He had only recently been released from imprisonment for child sex offences, and admitted to portraying himself as an 11-year-old boy in order to actively groom young girls in various chatrooms. To date, it has been established that his paedophile network and victims extended to various states in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Namibia.
He has been remanded in custody and charged with possessing and distributing child exploitation material and using a carriage service to access child pornography material.
Vital evidence secured in hearing
At the request of the QPS we became involved in an investigation into an organised group responsible for systematically stealing copper wire from power substations in South-east Queensland in early 2010.
Over about two months, 13 power substation were broken into and over two tonnes of copper wiring stolen and on-sold to scrap metal yards — at an estimated total cost of $500,000.
Investigative hearings yielded significant information that helped us identify specific offenders. As a result, seven people were charged with a total of 82 offences in relation to the thefts. Two witnesses were also charged with perjury as a result of information they gave at the hearings.
Financial investigation revealed the network
In response to a request by the QPS, we also conducted a series of hearings in relation to a major drug trafficking operation in Bundaberg. The network was distributing substantial quantities of amphetamines, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy along the eastern seaboard of Australia and into the Northern Territory.
The hearings were conducted in parallel with Australian Crime Commission hearings, with our hearings focusing on financial aspects of the trafficking network and alleged money laundering by the principal target. Identifying and quantifying assets helped to define the size and scope of the network and was a vital step in the investigation.
The evidence gathered through hearings also provided substantial information for confiscation proceedings brought against the principal target, with well over $1.7m currently under restraint.