Launceston criminal networks targeted in joint police operation


Twenty people have been charged and $140,000 cash, illegal firearms and drugs seized after a major joint police operation by Tasmanian Police and the Australian Federal Police targeting Launceston criminal networks.

Tasmania Police and the AFP's National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) undertook multiple operational activities during the five-weeks of Operation Coat.

Operation Coat was established in late August to investigate alleged criminal and drug offending by organised criminal networks in the Launceston area. The operation was a multi-jurisdictional investigation between Tasmania Police' Northern Criminal Investigation Branch and Crime and Intelligence Command, and the AFP.

The operation resulted in:

  • 15 searches conducted
  • 20 people charged
  • 4 firearms seized
  • 40 grams of ICE seized
  • 91 Ecstasy tablets seized
  • $143,000 cash seized

Charges include:

  • Aggravated Armed Robbery
  • Aggravated Burglary
  • Trafficking in controlled substance
  • Dealing in proceeds of crime
  • Defrauding the Commonwealth to the value of $170,000
  • Breach of Consorting notice
  • Breach of Home Detention Order
  • Breach of Bail
  • Firearms offences

Tasmania Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Jonathan Higgins said that Tasmania Police would continue to target criminal organisations that already operate in Tasmania, or organisations that are attempting to operate within Tasmania, to help keep the community safe.

"Our aim is to disrupt the criminal activities of people associated with criminal gangs across the state. We will continue to work closely with our partners at the AFP NAGS to achieve this. The use of other jurisdictional resources has been a great asset for Operation Coat and their assistance will form part of many investigations into the future," Acting Deputy Commissioner Higgins said.

"The community needs to be aware that criminal gangs are not harmless clubs. They are well organised criminals who readily resort to violence and intimidation to protect their way of life, causing fear across Tasmania.

"Our joint five week police operation sends a clear message to criminals that despite our ongoing commitment to tackling COVID in our community, police and law enforcement agencies remain equally committed to targeting and holding criminals to account."

AFP Tasmania NAGS Sergeant Nick Gibson said the AFP and its partners are focused on prosecuting criminal gang members and dismantling their illegal enterprises.

"Outlaw Motorcycle Groups are involved in the importation of illicit drugs and the sale of illegal weapons. These gangs are profiting from the misery caused by the drugs they supply and the violence they support," Sergeant Gibson said.

Anyone with information about organised crime should contact Police on 131444 or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Crime Stoppers Tasmania website.

Note to media:

Media are encouraged to include help-seeking information in stories about illicit drugs to minimise any negative impact on people in the community. The following services provide people with access to support and information.

Media enquiries

  • AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297
  • Tasmania Police Media: (03) 6173 2867

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