Gold Coast raids on nightclubs and homes net millions in drugs and cash

~~Police target bikies and nightclubs in Surfers Paradise after an 18-month investigation into drug-trafficking~~

Prominent figures in the Gold Coast's nightclub industry have been arrested in a drug sting that also targeted outlaw bikie associates, Queensland police have announced.

Two Surfers Paradise clubs were raided on Friday night and a number of homes on the Gold Coast, in Sydney and at Airlie Beach were searched in the past three days, after a 19-month-long investigation involving about 100 police officers into drug trafficking. Police allege that members of the Bandidos, Finks, Mongols, Rebels, Highway 61 and Lone Wolf bikie gangs were involved.

“Millions of dollars worth of drugs, cash and assets have been seized,” a police spokeswoman said. The value of the drugs was $26m, AAP reported.

Police arrested Ivan Tesic, who is alleged to have links to outlaw bikie gangs, in Sydney on Friday. He is expected to be extradited to Queensland and charged under the state's anti-bikie legislation.

Another man, Josh Downey, was arrested at Airlie Beach on Friday.

Policesaid the drugs, including cocaine and ingredients to make "ice", were sourced in Sydney.

The latest developments come as Queensland’s premier, Campbell Newman, is locked in a dispute with a lawyer, Chris Hannay, who is suing the premier and the state’s attorney general, Jarrod Bleijie, for $500,000 for Newman’s allegedly defamatory remarks about bikies’ lawyers.

In February the premier accused lawyers who represented alleged bikies of being “hired guns” who “make money from people who sell drugs to our teenagers”.

“They are part of the machine, part of the criminal gang machine, and they will see, say and do anything to defend their clients, try and get them off and indeed progress their case,” Newman said.

Hannay’s case, lodged in the Brisbane Supreme Court last Tuesday, alleges “malice from the defendants by publishing words they knew to be untrue, motivated by a wish to make political capital out of an attack on lawyer”.

Hannay is suing Bleijie and Newman for an additional $100,000 for the alleged malice. Newman has refused to retract his remarks, which Hannay claims were directed at him.

Two dozen alleged Bandidos bikies are expected to face trial in September for a brawl that led to the Queensland government enacting tough anti-gang laws.

Violence broke out at a restaurant precinct at Broadbeach, on the Gold Coast, last September. The event motivated the government to introduce controversial laws aimed at bikie and other criminal gangs.

The case, involving 24 alleged Bandidos, was mentioned in Southport Magistrates Court on Tuesday. It is expected to be heard in mid-September.

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