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Drug trafficker, 66, held in custody

UPDATE 2.50PM: A 66-year-old alleged Warwick drug trafficker will remain behind bars until at least his next court appearance on Tuesday.

The man, who is charged with possessing at least $600,000 in cash and cannabis, did not apply for bail at his hearing in Toowoomba Magistrates Court this afternoon.

He was not brought to the court.

The man has been remanded in custody and will appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Tuesday, by which time police expect to lay more charges.

Drugs found at the Warwick home.
Drugs found at the Warwick home. Nev Madsen

2.10PM: At least 12 police officers are still searching the Warwick alpaca farm where drug raids uncovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and drugs.

Detective Inspector Mick Dowie from the Queensland Police's homicide cold case unit spoke at a press conference this afternoon.

He described the bust as a "bonus" find made in the renewed investigation into the 1974 disappearance of Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki and Leanne.

The man lived at the property near Warwick his wife and young child.

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Det Insp Dowie said the 66-year-old man arrested for drug trafficking offences was a long-term associate of Vincent O'Dempsey, a former associate of Billy McCulkin, Barbara's estranged husband.

"We're aware that he has previously worked for Vince O'Dempsey and been an associate of Vince O'Dempsey for quite some time. Other than that, I can't really go into that in any more detail.

"To my knowledge he's been employed in various roles and been associated with Mr O'Dempsey in different roles over a period of time.

Detective Inspector Mick Dowie speaks to media about the drugs and cash found during raids at Warwick.
Detective Inspector Mick Dowie speaks to media about the drugs and cash found during raids at Warwick. Nev Madsen

"Our focus is 100% remained on solving the mystery around the disappearance and presumed murder of the McCulkin women.

"These are obviously bonuses for our investigation and the safety of Queensland - to get these drugs off the street."

Det Insp Dowie said police estimated the marijuana haul to have a street value of $300,000 to $500,000.

He said the cash, secreted throughout the house, was still being counted, but was currently in excess of $300,000.

Some of the drugs seized during police raids at a property near Warwick.
Some of the drugs seized during police raids at a property near Warwick.

8AM: A 66-year-old man arrested as part of renewed investigations into one of Queensland's most notorious cold cases will appear in Toowoomba court today.

Police charged the man with drug trafficking offences after a raid at a Warwick property yesterday. 

The raids on an alpaca farm on Glengallan Rd and a home on Frees Rd, Warwick, are linked to the investigation into the 1974 disappearance of Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki and Leanne.

Drugs and cash were reportedly found on the property, which is owned by Vincent O'Dempsey, a former associate of Billy McCulkin, Barbara's estranged husband and the father of her two girls.

Up to $300,000 in cash was found by police when they raided properties at Warwick.
Up to $300,000 in cash was found by police when they raided properties at Warwick.

The house has been declared a crime scene and investigations will continue at the property today. 

Barbara and her daughters were believed to have been murdered.

Police were searching for clues related to the cold case. 

Police from State Crime Command's Homicide Group have charged a 66-year-old man with drug trafficking offences.

The man is in custody and will appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court today.

Barbara McCulkin (right) and her daughters Vicky (left) and Leanne (centre) disappeared from their home on January 16, 1974.
Barbara McCulkin (right) and her daughters Vicky (left) and Leanne (centre) disappeared from their home on January 16, 1974. Contributed

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6AM: A man has been arrested as part of renewed investigations on the 40th anniversary of one of Queensland's most notorious cold cases.

Metropolitan media reported the man was charged late yesterday following raids on an alpaca farm on Glengallan Rd and a home on Frees Rd, Warwick.

Police searched the properties looking for clues relating to the 1974 disappearance of Barbara McCulkin and her daughters Vicki and Leanne.

It is believed the trio were murdered.

Search warrants were issued Tuesday after a six-month renewed push to solve the crime.

Drugs and cash were reportedly found on the property, which is owned by Vincent O'Dempsey, a former associate of Billy McCulkin, Barbara's estranged husband and the father of her two girls. Countless theories have abounded, the most enduring being that Barbara had vital evidence that would implicate the perpetrators of a Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub firebombing that killed 15 people in 1973.

But in January this year, Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Dowie said recent information suggests the motive was far less high-profile.

"The people responsible may have been discovered committing sexual offences against the two girls," he said at the time.

"We have spoken to someone who has probably caused us to focus on that as the motive and to put aside all the scandal and association of this murder with all the other criminal activity that was occurring back at the time."

In 1980, a coroner recommended two men be charged with the trio's murders, however the charges were later dropped. On Tuesday, Detective Superintendent Steve Holahan said he wouldn't rule out further searches, and encouraged anyone else with information about the crimes to come forward.

"It's very, very encouraging to see that even though this offence was committed some 40 years ago, we're still able to elicit assistance from the community," he said.

A $250,000 reward for information remains in place.

Topics:  arrest barbara mcculkin editors picks police



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