State’s drugs shame

Vic­to­ria now the na­tion’s ice cap­i­tal

Herald Sun - - NEWS - TOM MINEAR @tmin­ear

VIC­TO­RIA is Aus­tralia’s am­phet­a­mines cap­i­tal, new fig­ures show.

More ice, speed, MDMA and other stim­u­lants were seized here over the past year than in any other state.

Po­lice seized almost 4900kg of am­phet­a­mines in the last fi­nan­cial year — a whop­ping 396 per cent in­crease on the year be­fore.

New data from the Aus­tralian Crim­i­nal In­tel­li­gence Com­mis­sion shows Vic­to­ria is the only state where more peo­ple were ar­rested over am­phet­a­mines than over cannabis.

There were a record 154,538 drug ar­rests na­tion­wide, up 15.4 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year, more than half of which were for cannabis of­fences.

In Vic­to­ria, 10,985 peo­ple were ar­rested for am­phet­a­mines of­fences, com­pared with 9717 for cannabis of­fences.

The ACIC’s an­nual il­licit drug data re­port, out to­day, also says: AUTHOR­I­TIES seized 21 tonnes of il­licit drugs last year, the fourth-high­est to­tal on record. DRUG seizures num­bered a record 115,421, up 84.7 per cent over the past decade. PO­LICE found and closed 575 se­cret drug lab­o­ra­to­ries — 144 in Vic­to­ria — mostly run by ad­dicts pro­duc­ing methy­lam­phetamine in res­i­den­tial areas. FOR the first time, more pris­on­ers were hooked on methyl- am­phet­a­mines, in­clud­ing ice, than on cannabis.

The star­tling fig­ures on am­phet­a­mine seizures in Vic­to­ria do not in­clude the na­tion’s largest meth bust in a Nu­nawad­ing ware­house in April, in which 903kg of the drug, with a street value of $898 mil­lion, was found.

Most big am­phet­a­mine busts in­volved air and sea cargo smug­gling, but most seizures were of smaller amounts mailed from over­seas.

Author­i­ties in Mel­bourne found 2kg of MDMA in sham­poo bot­tles, and an­other 8.3kg de­scribed as bread mix, both from the Nether­lands — the most com­mon source of am­phet­a­mines ahead of China, Bri­tain and Ger­many.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Michael Keenan said ice was the drug that posed “by far the great­est threat” to the na­tion.

More than 60 per cent of Aus­tralia’s top crim­i­nal tar­gets were prof­it­ing from the trade.

Po­lice also seized more than 1500kg of cannabis in Vic­to­ria, 185.6 per cent more than in the pre­vi­ous year and more than in any other state.

And bor­der checks un­cov­ered co­caine a record 2777 times. Colom­bia con­tin­ued to be the main source coun­try.

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