by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online
With approximately 300,000 Australians smoking marijuana every week according to the ABC, as well as a 10 per cent rise in crystal meth (methamphetamines) use in Australia since 2011, the smuggling ring which was shut down yesterday had been set to reap profits in the millions.
After tracking two shipments from Papua New Guinea to Northern Queensland in August and September this year, nearly 1, 000 marijuana plants and 10 litres of Phenyl-2-Propanone (P2P) were seized in a raid in Far North Queensland, according to The Brisbane Times.
The 10 litres of P2P seized, if used to create methamphetamines, would have gained the smugglers a street value of up to $2.5 million, according to Australian authorities.
Since May, investigations from Australian police and customs jointly targeted smuggling activity, namely imports to Queensland from Daru, via the Torres Strait.
“Today’s operational closure was the culmination of months of investigation by a committed group of investigators who have now successfully shut down this drug trafficking syndicate,” said Detective Senior Sergeant Kev Goan from the Queensland Police Far Northern District drug squad.
Eight people have been charged with drug trafficking charges so far and police are reportedly not ruling out further arrests.
This is not the first report on smuggling between Daru and Australia; in December 2004, Australian newspaper The Age reported ‘a sophisticated network’ of corrupt officials and police behind the shipment of drugs, as well as a police force too under-resourced to monitor the border.
It is unknown whether any Papua New Guinean suspects belonging to the smuggling syndicate have been apprehended and charged.