Drug busts just scratch surface
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.’’