Au­thor­i­ties close in on meth king­pins

Pilbara News - - News - Tayissa Sweet­love and Daniel Emer­son

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.

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