Crystal meth seized by Queensland police in Cairns last year
Crystal meth seized by Queensland police in Cairns last year

Queensland is drug lab capital of Australia

QUEENSLAND suburbs are being inundated with toxic meth labs as authorities warn of a dramatic increase in the amount of heroin being seized off our streets.

The Sunshine State has become the illegal drug lab capital of Australia, accounting for more than one third of the 432 drug labs detected across the country last financial year.

There has also been a dramatic increase in heroin flooding into the state, with an almost 530 per cent increase in the insidious and highly addictive drug seized by police in Queensland. The sunshine state had the highest increase in heroin and cannabis seized by weight compared to any other state.

The appalling findings will be revealed today by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's Illicit Drug Data 2017-18 report.

The 141 clandestine drug labs found in Queensland last financial year far outstripped the more populous states of NSW, which had 86 labs, and Victoria, which had 98.

ACIC head of High Risk and Emerging Drugs Determination Shane Neilson said while the number of drug lab detections had dropped slightly compared to last year, Queensland consistently topped the nation.

"Queensland has always had a tradition of large numbers of relatively small, clandestine methamphetamine laboratories in particular," he said.

 

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"It's just something that's always been the case."

The report also revealed the number of labs detected in residential areas had increased from 63.9 per cent to 70.8 per cent, with others being found in vehicles, rural areas and industrial locations.

Mr Neilson said there would be a mix of reasons for the rise of drug lab detections in the suburbs.

"It comes down to decision making by the particular group involved in the manufacture," he said.

An Australian Border Force sniffer dog sniffing parcels for drugs at the airport
An Australian Border Force sniffer dog sniffing parcels for drugs at the airport

There have also been dramatic increases in seizures of heroin, cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines.

It included more than 20kg of heroin seized by police in Queensland, a 529 per cent increase from about 3kg the previous year.

Mr Neilson said while this was still less than what was seized in NSW and Victoria, the magnitude of the increase was a concern.

 

Queensland the drug lab capital
Queensland the drug lab capital

 

"We're closely monitoring the heroin market nationally to see if it is reflected in the longer term," he said.

He attributed the 2558kg of cannabis intercepted in the state, up 178 per cent, to a series of successful operations by Queensland Police.

There was a three-fold increase in amphetamines seized, up to 944kg, while the amount of cocaine seized doubled to 163kg.



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