Army drug raid

Whistle­blower raises con­cerns over cul­ture

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - by Nathan Paull nathan. paull@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au Con­tin­ued page 4

A DE­FENCE whistle­blower has spo­ken out about an al­leged drug cul­ture among Townsville’s sol­diers, claim­ing some were buy­ing drugs while de­ployed over­seas and sell­ing them upon re­turn­ing home.

The claims come af­ter the Depart­ment of De­fence con­firmed it started a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion with the Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice at the week­end into the al­leged abuse of il­licit sub­stances by Townsville sol­diers.

A de­fence spokesman re­fused to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions yes­ter­day, but it is un­der­stood Lavarack Bar­racks and sev­eral 1 RAR sol­diers’ Townsville homes were raided for drugs and ev­i­dence early on Satur­day morn­ing.

A po­lice spokesman said he could not com­ment on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion given it was be­ing headed by the Aus­tralian De­fence Force In­ves­ti­ga­tion Ser­vice, but it is un­der­stood at least one sol­dier has been ar­rested, while 10 oth­ers were also tar­geted in the bust.

A woman, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied, told the Bul­letin she be­came caught up in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter she found her ex-part­ner, a sol­dier, had been us­ing steroids in their home.

She said she re­ported it to an­other sol­dier, only to find he was also caught up in drug use, and it was not un­til she re­ported it out­side the de­fence com­mu­nity that in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­gan.

She said she did not want the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to be swept un­der the car­pet so was speak­ing out, de­spite be­com­ing the tar­get of abuse af­ter some sol­diers im­pli­cated re­alised her in­volve­ment.

‘‘ When I re­ported this, be­cause ob­vi­ously they found out I’ve been talk­ing to some­body, I was in­tim­i­dated into leav­ing my home,’’ she said.

‘‘ I’ve had to move in­ter­state with no help or sup­port from any­one. . . they just didn’t seem to care what was go­ing on.’’ She said it was com­mon prac­tice for some sol­diers to buy steroids and other drugs while on duty in places like Afghanistan at cheaper rates, to use and sell at a profit once re­turn­ing t o Townsville.

But she said t he most fright­en­ing as­pect was the lack of concern of the ADF’s drug prob­lem, which she claimed was widely known among sol­diers and man­age­ment. ‘‘ They’re im­port­ing these drugs, they’re com­ing di­rectly into the coun­try from Afghanistan and then they’re on-sell­ing them with no reper­cus­sions, the army doesn’t care,’’ she said.

‘‘ They just say ‘ see you later boys, you go back over there in six months and do the same thing again’.’’

De­fence yes­ter­day re­fused to com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions, only is­su­ing a state­ment say­ing ‘‘ de­fence takes the use of il­licit sub­stances very se­ri­ously’’.

‘‘ De­fence can­not dis­cuss the de­tails of this mat­ter as it re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion,’’ the state­ment read.

‘‘ All ADF per­son­nel are ed­u­cated an­nu­ally in re­la­tion to the dan­gers of sub­stance abuse.’’ The state­ment then went on to say there was no sug­ges­tion the mat­ter was linked to drug in­ves­ti­ga­tions ear­lier this year, when the HMAS Cairns naval base and bases in Syd­ney were raided.

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