Army drug raid
Whistleblower raises concerns over culture
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.