Drug busts just scratch sur­face

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Laurie Mills Townsville Bul­letin Satur­day, March 26, 2011

B O W E N p o l i c e a r e tight­en­ing the screws on the district’s flour­ish­ing drugs mar­ket but ad­mit four big re­cent busts were only one link in the sup­ply chain.

The lat­est bust hap­pened in Home Hill and found an am­phet­a­mine lab­o­ra­tory.

De­tec­tive Se­nior-Con­sta­ble Todd Maguire said drugs f ound i ncluded metham­phetamine, ec­stasy, ice, co­caine, cannabis and a large amount of cash.

Sen-Const Maguire said while the busts had cap­tured large amounts of dan­ger­ous drugs, there were still a lot around town.

‘‘ The three ma­jor ar­rests were in­de­pen­dent o p e r a t o r s a n d t h e r e didn’t ap­pear to be any ma­jor or­gan­ised groups r u n n i n g t h e d r u g s trade,’’ he said.

Sen-Const Maguire des c r i b e d t h e d e t a i l e d po­lice work lead­ing up to the busts.

‘‘ Sur­veil­lance mon­i­tor­ing of sus­pected bases and records of the num­bers of peo­ple com­ing and go­ing had t o be done’’, he said.

‘ ‘ I n f o r mant c i t i z e n s some­times wor­ried their tips weren’t be­ing inves- tigated but po­lice needed hard ev­i­dence and it took time to or­gan­ise raids.

‘‘ Most lo­cal raids were done with mem­bers of t h e Nor t h e r n Re g i o n drug squads and were finely co-or­di­nated.’’

Sen-Const Maguire said il­licit drug use was quite high in the Bowen area and had re­sulted in in­creased po­lice at­ten­tion d u r i n g t h e p a s t s i x months. He nom­i­nated speed as the pre­dom­i­nant street drug with cannabis also a ma­jor prob­lem.

‘ ‘ I t ( s p e e d ) has t he high­est us­age rate by peo­ple through­out Aus­tralia, and Bowen is no dif­fer­ent, he said.

‘‘ So-called recre­ational pills such as ec­stasy were not a big prob­lem.

‘ ‘ They’re speed-based and are used when peo­ple can’t find speed.’’

He said bikie clubs sup­ply­ing drugs were not a prob­lem but the drugs were sourced through Townsville and Mackay, as well as in­ter­state.

‘‘ Sur­pris­ingly, Ayr has had a few speed labs.

‘‘ It was un­usual to see co­caine and heroin was al­most un­heard of.

‘‘ How­ever, there was a s mal l g r o u p a b u s i n g mor­phine, mainly sourc­ing pre­scrip­tion tablets via doc­tor shop­ping and on-sell­ing them for $ 100.’’

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