ROCKHAMPTON businesses and residences were targeted during a police investigation into the sale of synthetic drugs in retail outlets.

Police executed 10 search warrants on business and residential addresses in Capalaba, Rockhampton and the Gold Coast on Monday and yesterday.

The search warrants were executed as part of Operation Mike Spinel, a protracted investigation into the sale of synthetic drugs in retail outlets.

It is alleged the synthetic drugs were sold as "legal highs" which mimics the effects of cannabis and other unlawful drugs, and sold in a covert manner through a number of "herbal" outlets.

Officers from the Drug and Serious Crime Group with the assistance of Gold Coast RAP, Brisbane Region, Operations Support Command and Rockhampton CIB and Joint Agency Task Force Jericho carried out the search warrants.

A significant amount of synthetic drugs including 9kg of synthetic cannabinoids (valued at about $225,000) and ingredients to prepare a further 10kg ($250,000) of synthetic cannabinoids, packaging material and drug producing equipment (including cement mixers used to mix the drugs) were seized during the raids.

"This is a significant result for us," Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker of the Drug and Serious Crime Group  (a former Central Queensland senior detective) said.

"For some time these retailers have continued to sell these drugs claiming their legality and harmless nature. This is definitely not the case.

Forensic testing has now proven these drugs to contain very harmful chemicals.  This should serve as a warning to any other retailers who continue to sell these drugs.

"The community needs to be aware that the production processes utilised are uncontrolled.  The drug dosage rate is dangerously inconsistent and the facilities and equipment used are improvised and unhygienic." 

A 39-year-old man was charged with one count each of trafficking dangerous drugs and supplying dangerous drugs. He will appear in the Cleveland Magistrates Court on April 5.

A 52-year-old man was charged with one count of possession of a dangerous drug and three counts of possession of a regulated poison. He is due to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on March 29.


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