Drug arrest every six minutes during the last financial year

It seems that drug arrests and seizures are on the rise, Australia-wide.

Last financial year there was a drug arrest on average every six minutes, according to the Australian Crime Commission, and this number the highest on record.

In addition there was a drug seizure made every seven minutes with a total of 86,916 seizures being made in 2012-3, a massive increase of 66.4% since 2003-4.

There were a record number of cocaine and steroid seizures and arrests.

It was responsible for 61% of drug-related arrests.

The number of clandestine laboratories detected nationally decreased from 809 in the previous year to 757 this reporting period, but it still remains the second highest number on record.

The majority of those found are in residential areas, although there has been an increase in the number of those found in commercial or industrial locations.

Look at the Australian Crime Commission Report, 2012-3 report, for more information on recent drug trends.

While the rising number of arrests and seizure could be due in part to greater police numbers, powers and resources, it is believed that Australia is also becoming of increasing interest to international drug cartels, because Australians are prepared to pay high prices for prohibited drugs.

Profiling indicates that South-East Asia is the most prominent source region of heroin seized, both at the border and throughout the country, while it indicates that cocaine is primarily sourced from Colombia.

International cartels have been breaking into the lucrative Australian market increasingly over the last five years.

One federal police inquiry late last year found that a number of cocaine cartels established their bases in the south Pacific in order to bring the drugs into Australia.

Prices in Australia are astronomical, compared to those in other countries.

For example, cocaine in Columbia is $3000 a kilogram and here the same amount could cost between $190,000 and $250,000.

Judy Lind, the executive director of strategy and specialist capabilities for the Commission, said she is particularly concerned with the increase in the use of ice, which can have catastrophic effects on not only the user, but those around them.

She cites examples of people who have got behind the wheel when under the influence of ice and caused disastrous accidents.

To read more of what she has to say on the trends, click here.

With over 100,000 people arrested for drug offences in Australia last year, should we be considering new strategies for dealing with drugs?

The current penalties for commercial drug supply and importation can be high – including up to life imprisonment for the most serious offences.

To find out more about penalties for drug offences, click here.

For drug possession, the maximum penalty is two years in prison and a $2,200 fine.

For drug supply, the maximum penalties can get more serious depending on the type of drug and the quantity.

Commander David Sharpe, from the Australian Federal Police has warned that police cannot ‘arrest their way’ out of this problem.

There has been a growing demand for a shift away from the traditional approach used by courts and the criminal justice system. One approach started in 1998 when the NSW Drug Court Act was introduced: the New South Wales Drug Court.

This court deals with drug charges differently to the Local or District Courts.

If a participant is accepted into the program they must undergo a custodial remand for detoxification and assessment which can take up to two weeks.

Each individual receives a treatment plan and must plead guilty. The program focuses on rehabilitation. Treatment undertaken as part of the program can take up to 12 months and punishments or privileges can be awarded by the court during this time.

In addition there is what is known as the MERIT program – Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment – which is available for adults whose cases may not be tried in the Drug Court with substance abuse problems and aims to help drug abusers recover as part of the bail process.

Ugur Nedim About Ugur Nedim
Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Sydney’s Leading Firm of Criminal & Drug Defence Lawyers.

Show Comments

Comments are closed.