Increased hauls dent drug trade

JOSH NYMANAlbany Advertiser

A rise in the number of drug busts in the Great Southern over the past year is the result of pro-actively targeting drug dealers and users, according to police.

Search warrants executed under the Misuse of Drugs Act increased by 26 per cent in the past financial year and resulted in some significant seizures, including a $1.5 million cannabis haul in March.

Albany Acting Senior Sergeant Derek Grimes said while he could not reveal the total amount of drugs taken off the streets, they had put a major dent in the local drug trade, especially cannabis.

“We’ve seized a substantial amount of drugs which have been destroyed and more are awaiting destruction at the completion of court cases,” he said.

“By far the majority of that is cannabis and we had large seizures in Walpole and Mt Barker.”

The March bust was the district’s biggest haul of cannabis in more than a decade, with Denmark and Walpole police seizing 572 plants in bushland north of Walpole.

In April, Mt Barker police uncovered more than 30kg of harvested cannabis at two separate residences in the same week, two of the biggest seizures in that area in some time, and seized a crop estimated at $20,000 at a private property.

In the same month, Albany police seized more than 2kg of harvested cannabis and 17 plants during Operation Dry Burn.

A number of offenders were charged including a male who allegedly supplied cannabis to his 15-year-old daughter.

Last month, Albany detectives raided five properties and charged 11 people with offences ranging from manufacture and possession of amphetamines to selling 8cannabis.

Acting Sen. Sgt Grimes said many of the drug hauls resulted from investigations based on police intelligence combined with information from the public.

“We need to give the public a bit of a pat on the back and we are very impressed with the amount of information we’ve received from them and we expect that to continue,” he said.

“We have full intention to continue our focus on drugs and will be executing as many warrants as we can to try and reduce the issues of drugs on the streets.”

Drugs information can be passed on to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Albany Police Station on 9892 9300.

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