Tuesday, May 21, 2024

COVID borders close in on drug trade

Western Australia Police say COVID-19 border lockdowns have resulted in a shortage of supply of the illicit drug methamphetamine in the state, which has resulted in greedy criminal suppliers charging higher prices for the destructive drug.

Police say there are reports of one kilogram of methamphetamine being sold for more than $500,000 wholesale – up from about $100,000 before the pandemic.

A 34-year-old WA man has been charged with drug trafficking after the Australian Federal Police allegedly found methamphetamine, cocaine, a handgun and more than $6500 cash at two Perth apartments.

The man is expected to appear in Perth Magistrate’s Court today (10 September) for a bail hearing, after he was remanded in custody during a brief appearance on 27 August.

Investigators executed search warrants on 26 August at two inner-city properties linked to the man, over suspicions he was allegedly supplying methamphetamine in Western Australia.

AFP investigators found the cash, approximately 280 grams of methamphetamine and approximately 56 grams of cocaine, as well as items allegedly used for drug dealing, including scales and clip seal bags.

“The AFP is working tirelessly to combat all levels of the illicit drug trade and protect the Australian community,” AFP Detective Acting Inspector Knight said.

A Beretta .22 calibre pistol with a magazine and ammunition were also seized.

Police found the handgun and 56 grams of cocaine hidden in a massage table in a locked storage area, while the methamphetamine was found in a garden reticulation control unit.

The man has been charged with one count of trafficking a marketable quantity of controlled drug, contrary to section 302.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The offence carries a potential maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment. Police expect to lay further charges.

AFP Detective Acting Inspector Tim Knight said removing any illicit firearms and drugs from WA communities is a win because of the harm they can cause.

“Criminals use firearms to intimidate and hurt each other but there is the potential for innocent people to get hurt,” he said.

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