Launceston criminal networks targeted in joint police operation with AFP

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

Tasmania Police in collaboration with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) National Anti-Gangs Squad (NAGS) undertook specific operational activity targeting criminal networks in the Launceston area during a five week operation, Operation Coat.

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

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

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, in conjunction with state and territory law enforcement agencies, and Commonwealth partners, is focused on prosecuting criminal gang members and dismantling their various criminal enterprises.

“These groups are highly involved in the importation of illicit drugs and the sale of illegal weapons. Criminal gangs are profiting from the misery caused by the drugs they import 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