A couple from Queensland who is believed to be on the list of 19 most wanted criminals in Australia have been caught by the Australian police after almost a year after they were twice released on bail. The Queensland couple was allegedly involved in the selling of many illicit and deadly drugs obtained from the dark web.
Jonathan Grey, 41 and his wife Kathleen Grey, 46, were apprehended on Monday afternoon. The couple was first arrested in July 2016 and was charged numerous drug offenses including using the dark markets of the internet as means of selling amphetamines, heroin, and cannabis. The Gold Coast couple escaped from authorities September last year after they were granted bail by the state but were again arrested in September after allegedly planting cannabis in their Gold Coast home and selling it but were released on bail for a second time, by a Beenleigh magistrate.
Police in Queensland suspected Mr. Grey who also goes by the name Jonathon Macfarlane of being the worst Queensland’s drug kingpin on the Darknet. He was although released on bail was alleged to have committed additional drug offenses, which lead to more serious charges. His wife Mrs. Grey happens to be the only woman to have appeared on Crime Stoppers’ wanted list this year.
On December 13, a warrant was again issued for their arrest by the Beenleigh Magistrates Court after the pair skipped court. Jonathan and Kathleen had been on the run for 11 months, but were finally located and arrested in Adelaide suburb of Hyde Park about 3.30pm. This happened just five hours after the Courier-Mail probed into their case.
Queensland police would apply for extradition and the pair would appear in court on Tuesday said a South Australian Police spokesman.
Ian Leavers, president of Queensland Police Union, however, wasn’t pleased with the manner in which this case was handled and has thrown doubt on the decisions of some magistrates.
“Police do not object to bail lightly and these submissions can be complex and time-consuming, however, ultimately the final decision is up to the courts,” he stated.
“All too often police are seeing some individuals who pose a very real flight risk receiving bail, however, we as police will always do our best to keep the community safe even if we see what we perceive to be a revolving door of a justice system.”
Trevor O’Hara, Crime Stoppers chief executive stated that the agency received numerous calls about the pair.
“You can’t run and hide in Australia,” he said.
“The Grey couple was believed to be serious suppliers of drugs on the darknet”.
“Since they’ve been released (on bail) … they’ve continued to offend and commit more drug offenses. They’re still doing it online potentially.”
Crime Stoppers is a community policing initiative which allows the public to alert authorities on run away fugitives.
The couple’s alleged Darknet business came to light when 71 cannabis plants were seized from their Pacific Pines home by Drug Squad detectives.
The house was allegedly modified and used as a production site for hydroponic cannabis. It was believed to be just 200m from a primary school.
Jonathan and Kathleen were two of four natives of Queensland on a list of Australia’s most wanted fugitives, released on Monday by Crime Stoppers.
This was after the National Operation Roam was announced to be in play again for another year with Queenslanders being asked to help with finding the criminals wanted in connection with various offenses around the state. Among the “Rogue Radar” list are suspected murderers, armed robbers and sexual offenders which the Greys were part of.
Trevor O’Hara again stated that the arrests were a positive start to the campaign.
“We’re very hopeful, considering the great result we’ve had in the first 12 hours of the campaign, that the next week will evolve into a number of offenders arrested,” he said.
Mr. O’Hara said most of the offenders were likely hiding out in other states, but once they are located, they would be forced to move back to Queensland.
“These criminals could be working alongside you in your community,” “It might be a new person you’ve noticed in your area or a more familiar face such as a neighbor, work colleague, friend or even a family member.”
“All of the offenders have extradition orders already in place,” he said.
“If they are located somewhere else we don’t want to waste time with the system, the officers need to know they can arrest them and get them back to that home system to face the local judicial process.”
The campaign has however yielded some positive results with 11 of the 19 fugitives listed in last year’s operation successfully located and arrested.