Australian police fighting hard to curb drug trafficking
COCAINE in toys and meth in curry paste are among the alarming discoveries Australian authorities are making as they battle record numbers of drug traffickers, a government crime report has revealed.
In 2011-2012, more than 76,000 busts and 93,000 arrests took drug-related crime to its highest level in more than a decade.
The Australian Crime Commission's Illicit Drug Report found drug importation was up by more than 150%.
While cannabis remains Australia's drug of choice, demand for heroin, cocaine and meth is on the rise.
The purity of the drug "ice" has more than doubled in NSW and Victoria.
The market for steroids and other performance enhancing drugs is also flourishing.
Describing drug use as Australia's "biggest disease", John lawler , CEO of ACC, said the report had given authorities the data they needed to deal with elaborate drug trade.
He said while parcel post remained the most common avenue for traffickers, drug importation had "evolved considerably".
Organised crime was blamed in the report for the country's drug problem.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare told reporters he had grown up in Cabramatta where he was offered heroin on his daily train-ride home from school.
He said scourge of drugs was evident in the gangland war currently being waged in Sydney's west.
His answer is a US modeled multi-agency crime-fighting machine which has already smashed several international supply chains.
In one single raid last year, police stopped 11 tones of the meth-making ingredient hypo phosphorous from hitting the streets where it would have returned more than $3 billion.
Mr Clare said the key to catching criminals and seizing drugs on the streets and at the border was teamwork and the sharing of intelligence.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government announced it was set up a National Border Targeting Centre as part of a $149.9 million package to tackle organised crime.
Taskforce Polaris in Sydney and Taskforce Trident in Melbourne are already in action.
Taskforce Jericho will be launched in Brisbane in July.
- The number and weight of amphetamine-type stimulant (excluding MDMA) border detections has increased and is the highest reported level in the last decade.
- The number and weight of national amphetamine-type stimulants increased and is the highest reported in the last decade.
- The number and weight of national cannabis seizures increased. The number of seizures is the highest reported in the last decade.
- The number and weight of national heroin seizures increased. The number of seizures if the highest reported in the last decade.
- The number and weight of national cocaine seizures increased. The weight is the highest reported in the last decade.
- The number and weight of national steroid seizures increased and both are the highest reported in the last decade.
- A record 809 clandestine laboratories were detected with the majority producing amphetamine-type substances - the majority of these laboratories were small addict based laboratories.
- Colombia is the predominant source of cocaine seized at the border and South-East Asia and South-West Asia is the predominant source for heroin seized at the border.