Notice the increasing frequency of drug busts on ports of entries throughout Australia? Victoria, Melbourne, and Canberra are just some ports of entry for illicit drugs.
There’s a similarity in all drug busts: drug tonnage, billion-dollar street value, and clever concealment.
Unfortunately, you can expect to hear more of these as long as Australians are willing to pay the high price for illicit drugs. Drug syndicates will continue to make the long and treacherous journey and find ways to outsmart border protection in Australia.
But you have to wonder though, where do Australia’s drugs come from?
In the past five years, there has been an explosion in the number of boats carrying meth and cocaine from Latin America, via the Pacific Islands.
The illicit drugs are packed in the hull of the ships passing from Latin America and the United States. These ships carry more than a tonne of cocaine, which is still not enough to meet the appetite of Australians for the drug. The illicit drug trail is called the Pacific drug highway and starts from Latin America countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea) and ends in Canberra.
The use of the route has increased dramatically as the seizures prove. In 2017, a yacht on its way to Australia was intercepted by authorities and was found to contain 1.4 tonnes of cocaine.
According to authorities, as the seizures become more frequent, the quantities also become larger. Australia has the highest cocaine use per capita in the world.
Crime groups in Mexico have Australia as their top target for drug syndication and trafficking. From Mexico, the illicit drugs are transported via the United States.
Early in January of this year, in a record-breaking drug bust — 1.7 metric tonnes of meth were seized in California worth $1.29 billion. The shipment also contained 25 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of $9.5 million and 5 kilograms of heroin, worth $2.6 million. The consignment was found contained in audio speakers and was bound for Melbourne.
Mexican groups are partnering with Chinese brokers in the region to distribute their products. For instance, the Sinaloa drug cartel with the most sophisticated network has longstanding links to China.
In what Australian authorities describe as the largest meth bust in the country, illicit drugs with an estimated value of $1.2 billion were found hidden inside stereo equipment by the Australian Border Force (ABF).
The consignment containing the haul weighing 1.6 tonnes (including 37 kg of heroin) was discovered at a Melbourne airport and was said to come in from Bangkok, Thailand.
Meth, also known as ice, has a very high demand in Australia despite having the highest price in all countries. The drug continues to damage Australian communities. And in 2015, a national task force was created to tackle the high rate of meth use all over the country.
In the most recent drug haul by Australian authorities, four French, British, US, and Australian nationals were arrested for trying to smuggle in $1 billion worth of illicit drugs on a yacht. The men had 1.087 tonnes of methylamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy and attempted to conceal them using seaweed. They were found on a tiny island off Western Australia.
These illicit drugs, once they reach our ports have a sophisticated network of distribution. For instance, from West Australia, they make their way to Sydney — which is the cocaine capital of the country — and into communities, homes, and workplaces.
Are you doing everything you can to keep a drug-safe workplace?