Taskforce Masher Arrests

Police have charged two men with multiple offences following an investigation into arson offences on tobacco and vape retail outlets.

Investigations conducted by Mount Isa Criminal Investigation Branch identified two male offenders suspected of being responsible for an arson offence in Mount Isa.

It will be alleged, at approximately 2.50am on June 24, two people doused the entryway of a Mount Isa business with flammable liquid before setting fire to the building.

The business sustained significant fire damage to the front wall and immediate interior.

No one was inside at the time of the fire.

Additional support from Taskforce Victor Masher, a specialist Queensland Police Service taskforce targeting organised crime syndicates behind the illicit tobacco trade, resulted in the execution of a search warrant on Thursday, July 4 which led to a 29-year-old Bethania man being charged with one count each of arson, possession of a dangerous drug, and possession of utensil.  

As part of the tactical action, two motorcycles and 105kg of chopped tobacco were seized which are suspected to be linked to arsons on tobacco retail outlets in Kempsey and Taree in NSW. 

Queensland Police Service are liaising with NSW Police Arson Squad in respect to those offences.  

The Bethania man faced Beenleigh Magistrates Court yesterday (July 5) and was released on bail to re-appear in Mount Isa Magistrates Court on July 22.

A 31-year-old Pimpama man was located and arrested in Woodridge yesterday, July 5. He was charged with one count of arson and will appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Monday, July 8.

Taskforce Masher was established to target entrenched syndicates involved in the coordination of offences of violence across Queensland with the aim to disrupt and suppress this offending and identify organised crime syndicates behind the illicit tobacco trade.

The joint initiative involves the Crime and Intelligence Command and police regions to investigate and stop these offences.

Queensland Police Service and NSW Police Force are continuing investigations.

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