Authorities close in on meth kingpins
Australian law enforcement authorities believe they are closer to cracking down on the international “Mr Bigs” of methamphetamine distribution.
In a briefing from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s WA office, The West
Australian was told that Australian officers stationed in Asia were receiving crucial intelligence from their international counterparts that would help stop the flow of meth into WA.
Since January last year, 450kg of methamphetamine has been seized in WA, more than twothirds of which came from Hong Kong and China.
Of the 65 people charged with drug and money laundering offences, 80 per cent were Hong Kong and Chinese nationals.
The most recent seizure was on September 19, when a joint operation by WA Police’s organised crime squad and ACIC intercepted $4 million of methamphetamine at Perth Domestic Airport.
Two Vietnamese men and a Chinese man, all in their 20s, were charged with a drug distribution plot that would have resulted in about 40,000 hits of the drug reaching WA streets.
One of the men allegedly flew to Sydney on September 19, only to return to Perth later that day.
A search of his luggage allegedly uncovered 4kg of methamphetamine.
In subsequent searches of properties in Perth and East Cannington, police allegedly found 500g of cocaine, $10,000 cash, casino chips to the value of $11,000, a pistol and ammunition, as well as mobile phones and drug paraphernalia.
ACIC State manager Doug Miller said the profitability of crime came at a cost to the entire community.
Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said proceeds of crime funds had been used to station ACIC officers in locations such as Hong Kong, Dubai, Canada and the US.
WA Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell has moved to scotch rumours that meth addicts who contacted a new hotline would be pressed to “dob in their dealer”.
Ms Mitchell was pleased that the State Government’s Meth Helpline, launched a fortnight ago, had been contacted by 160 users and their families in its first week. But she was concerned about rumours aired on talkback radio that addicts were being asked by hotline counsellors to name their dealers.