As a country that is surrounded by water, Australia faces a unique battle in its war against illegal drugs. Not only must it enforce the country’s drug laws on land; it must also police the coastal waters to prevent drug traffickers from bringing illegal substances into the country. Australian law enforcement recently made a record-breaking drug bust when it seized 1100 kilograms of cocaine and arrested traffickers who are part of a huge international drug ring.
Australia’s Christmas Day 1,000 Kg Cocaine Drug Bust
The arrests and drug bust came on Christmas Day just north of Sydney in Brooklyn, Australia. The cocaine has a street value of over $360 million in Australian currency. The bust itself was the result of a months-long investigation that included Australian police watching the traffickers’ vessel as it traveled in and out of the country’s fish markets in the waters off South Wales.
The investigation netted the arrests of a dozen men that range in ages from 29 to 63. Curiously enough, one of those arrested was a former player of the National Rugby League. All of them are suspected of being part of a Tahitian and international drug trafficking ring that frequently targets Australia as a profitable market for cocaine and other drugs. If convicted, all of the 12 could land sentences that include life in prison. The investigation involved thousands of hours of careful monitoring and watching as well as the cooperation of the Sydney community.
While this drug bust and series of arrests takes millions of dollars of cocaine off the Australian market, it arguably is just a first step in making a dent in the growing drug problem within that country. Law enforcement officers and penal system professionals admit that they have their work cut out for them when it comes to ebbing the flow of illegal drugs coming into the country as well as helping Australians see the reason in not using drugs in the first place.
The Growing Drug Problem in Australia
Australian authorities are often the first to admit that the country is dealing with a rapidly growing drug problem. Statistics show that upwards of 40 percent of the population 14 and older have used or are now addicted to drugs. Along with cocaine, some of the more common substances abused in Australia include meth, crack, and marijuana. Harder substances also include heroin, ice, and ecstasy.
However, it is not just illegal street drugs being abused by Australians today. Studies also show that 28 percent of Australian youths ages 12 to 17 have tried alcohol at least once. While that number is lower than in recent years, underage drinking still accounts for high incidences of teen death from injury, homicide, and suicide.
Further, people of all ages continue to abuse prescription drugs like codeine, hydrocodone, and morphine. While reports show that just under five percent of the population admits to misusing prescription medications, statistics also show that the number is on the rise as these medicines become easier to obtain in the illegal drug market. Illegal substances are priced so that more people can afford to buy them; however, these same studies show that drug abuse is higher among people of higher socioeconomic status.
Summing It Up
Australian law enforcement officers admit that they are fighting an increasingly uphill battle to keep illegal drugs out of the country. As the demand for substances like cocaine continues to rise, drug traffickers recognize the lucrative income potential that awaits if they can successfully smuggle their goods past the border. One trafficking ring was met with disappointment, seizure, and arrests on Christmas Day as police took custody of cocaine valued at more than $360 million.
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