SOCIETY cocaine dealer Richard Buttrose has fed the drug habits of actors, celebrities and rich kids.
But the convicted drug baron - and nephew of media identity Ita Buttrose - is the star of the opening episode of a new series on Australian drug dealers after the NSW drug squad turned over stunning surveillance footage for a Channel 9 series.
Video of Richard Buttrose being busted mid-deal and a humiliating raid on his family home as his pregnant wife Pollyanna looks on, is featured in Australian Druglords on Nine next Tuesday night in what is unprecedented access to police surveillance tapes.
From the first phone call when an undercover police officer makes contact with Buttrose, to the discovery of more than $1.3 million in cash and 5.9kg of cocaine in his safe house in the upmarket Sydney suburb of Darling Point, viewers will see just how this privileged boy turned drug baron was brought down.
The footage, direct from the files of NSW police Operation Connell - which busted then brought Buttrose to justice - is as addictive as the drugs he is caught peddling.
There is more vision where that came from, including inside the arrests of Swedish socialite Charlotte Lindstrom and Olympic gold medal kayaker Nathan Baggaley.
Taken inside the squad, audiences will share in adrenalin of staking out suspects and the voyeuristic pleasure of watching them being caught.
There's the first deal caught on camera, when a casual Buttrose pulls his blue Mercedes up to an unmarked car and tosses 10g of bagged cocaine through the window.
But it's his arrest on the streets of inner eastern suburban Woollahra that will have his former customers twitching next Tuesday night, when vision of a black book - with its pages of names and the money they paid him - is aired for the first time.
A mobile phone with 250-odd clients and their contact numbers is also taken into evidence by police.
Police were inspired by the success of Underbelly to release the footage to Southern Star productions in a bid to expose the "glamorous" life of criminals.
NSW Det-Supt Nick Bingham said he refused to watch the acclaimed gangland series.
We're here to say that lifestyle is for a finite period, he said.
These people are constantly looking over their shoulders. It might look quasi-glamorous but it's no way to live.
And Buttrose's associates should be warned: Det-Supt Bingham confirmed investigations into the drug kingpin's activities are continuing, including recovering his many assets (as proceeds of crime) and following up names in the little black book.
Herald Sun May 27, 2010 12:00AM
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