Crack­down yields 70 drug charges

Pilbara News - - News - Alicia Per­era

Ex­mouth po­lice are crack­ing down on drugs, par­tic­u­larly metham­phetamine, in re­sponse to com­mu­nity con­cern over high lev­els of drug use in town.

Ex­mouth po­lice of­fi­cer-in­charge Sergeant Paul Weld said the sta­tion had been tak­ing a “zero tol­er­ance” ap­proach to drugs over the past three months.

That has in­volved ex­e­cut­ing mul­ti­ple drug war­rants a week and charg­ing be­tween 20 and 30 peo­ple with a com­bined 70 drug-re­lated charges over the three-month pe­riod.

Sgt Weld said the crack­down had come about in re­sponse to com­mu­nity per­cep­tion that meth and other drugs were a se­ri­ous prob­lem in town.

He said a re­cent drug-driv­ing test con­ducted by the sta­tion had shown the ex­tent of the prob­lem.

“I ended up run­ning a drug test­ing op­er­a­tion here last month, just to gauge what lev­els were,” he said.

“We did 68 drug tests and got eight (pos­i­tive) re­sults. So al­most one in eight driv­ers tested pos­i­tive to meth.”

Sgt Weld said the is­sue was dif­fi­cult to spot from the out­side be­cause the pop­u­lar tourist town did not have high rates of usu­ally as­so­ci­ated crime such as bur­glar­ies, rob­beries and do­mes­tic as­saults.

“Where there’s a meth is­sue there’s usu­ally as­so­ci­ated crime,” he said.

“We don’t re­ally have that here. What we do seem to have is a lot of peo­ple who are tak­ing drugs but who seem to be ca­pa­ble of func­tion­ing in em­ploy­ment or in a nor­mal ca­pac­ity.”

He said the po­lice ef­fort was cov­er­ing both users and deal­ers and those charged so far came from a wide range of de­mo­graph­ics.

The 70 drug charges laid by Ex­mouth po­lice so far in their op­er­a­tion in­clude pos­ses­sion of drugs with in­tent to sell or sup­ply, cul­ti­vat­ing cannabis plants, and mi­nor meth and cannabis charges.

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