25 June 2024

Major road safety blitz a success, but drivers disappoint superintendent

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol officers are set to targeted speeding and dangerous driving as part of Operation Furious.

NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol officers targeted speeding and dangerous driving as part of Operation Furious. Photo: NSW Police.

Riverina Police officers allegedly seized two million dollars worth of tobacco and vapes during Operation Furious.

Operation Furious ran from 17 to 20 June and targeted speeding and dangerous driving along the Hume Highway, from the inner-city suburbs of Sydney to Albury on the NSW/Victorian border.

Operation Hamilton was conducted by Victoria Police from Wodonga on the NSW/Victorian border to Melbourne in conjunction with NSW Police.

The high-visibility operation involved NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command officers, with assistance from inspectors from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, to ensure heavy vehicle drivers were compliant with vehicle regulations.

More than 180 NSW Traffic and Highway Patrol officers were deployed over the four days in marked and unmarked vehicles, conducting stationary and random speed enforcement duties.

During the operation, police issued 726 traffic infringement notices, which included 437 speeding fines.

Police conducted 1556 random breath tests with two positive results detected, while 370 random drug tests were performed with 12 positive results detected.

Sixteen criminal and 38 traffic charges were laid, with 10 vehicles issued with defect notices.

Police conducted 28 searches of people and vehicles, where more than $932,000 in cash, along with more than $2 million worth of tobacco and vapes, were seized.

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Riverina Highway Patrol officers were conducting stationary testing on the Hume Highway, Tumblong, near Gundagai, when they pulled over a Toyota Hiace van on 17 June.

Upon searching the vehicle, they allegedly seized 37 boxes containing 9400 vapes with an estimated street value of $329,000. The 52-year-old Victorian driver was arrested and taken to Gundagai Police Station, where he was issued a court attendance notice for a charge of goods in personal custody suspected of being stolen, to appear before Gundagai Local Court on 16 August.

On 19 June, Albury Highway Patrol officers were conducting patrols of the Hume Highway, Holbrook, where they stopped a driver for a random breath test.

Police searched his vehicle and allegedly located $603,014 in cash concealed within boxes. A 37-year-old male driver was taken to Albury Police Station and was charged with dealing with property proceeds of crime. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Albury Local Court on 8 August.

Cootamundra Highway Patrol stopped a car on Cross Street, South Gundagai on 20 June, where the driver was subjected to a roadside drug test, which allegedly returned a positive result.

Officers searched the car and allegedly located a homemade .22 calibre firearm, ammunition and a liquid substance believed to be an illicit drug. The 26-year-old driver was taken to Wagga Wagga Police Station, where he was charged with multiple firearms offences, including acquiring firearms and ammunition subject to a prohibition order, possessing unauthorised firearms, driving under the influence of alcohol and more.

He was refused bail to attend Wagga Wagga Local Court on 21 June and formally refused bail to attend the same court on 24 June.

Around 10:30 pm on 20 June, officers attached to Riverina Highway Patrol stopped a van travelling along the Hume Highway, Mundarlo, for a roadside random breath test. Police searched the van and allegedly located 860,520 illicit cigarettes in boxes, with an estimated street value of $1,290,780.

The 67-year-old male driver and 67-year-old male passenger were arrested and taken to Wagga Wagga Police Station. The men were charged with possessing tobacco 500 kg or more and goods in custody, to appear at Wagga Wagga Local Court on 3 July.

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Traffic and Highway Patrol South West Commander Superintendent Rob Toynton said the high-visibility police operation was a success, but it was disappointing some drivers continued to break the road rules.

“While the majority of drivers are doing the right thing, it’s disappointing that some are still choosing to risk not only their lives, but the lives of others, by being reckless on our roads and speeding or driving under the influence,” Superintendent Toynton said.

“We will also continue to target and disrupt the transport of illegal tobacco and vapes.

“This operation proves NSW police won’t tolerate criminal behaviour, and if you choose to do the wrong thing, you will be caught.”

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