The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has achieved yet another milestone in the war on drugs. Four men have been hit with drug smuggling charges for attempting to smuggle a whopping 30kg of cocaine into Brisbane.
The suspects were arrested while trying to import the high-value loot that attracts a street value of $9 million (USD). Mark Dumenil, Hashanth Kulatunge and Colombian duo Giovani and Wilmar Buitrago suffered a police swoop that would see their possible life imprisonment.
The operation that led to this seizure was a joint undertaking by the AFP and the Australian Border Force (ABF). This operation commenced on the second week of January following genuine concerns over the proliferation of drug-related cases in Australia.
It began with the inspection of a shipping vessel that exhibited concealments of a strange white substance that was stashed in the container’s body rail. Preliminary tests identified the substance to be a possible form of illicit drugs.
The ABF procedures would then show positive results for cocaine.
The cargo in the container had initially been marked as a consignment of sporting goods. This included rubber granules used in sporting infrastructure, materials that are naturally commonplace.
The ABF then forwarded their findings to the AFP for further action.
The AFP responded to information provided by the ABF by targeting the marked container. Law enforcement agents dismantled the shipping container, thus exposing the hidden contents.
About 99 packages were retrieved, each containing a compacted powder that would turn out to be cocaine. This finding prompted the AFP to refine the procedures of the operation to ensure the arrest of the alleged drug traffickers.
The action was expected to monitor the delivery of the shipping container to a location in Wacol, Brisbane.
Arrests were made 10 days following the seizure of the hidden cocaine. On January 19, two men were apprehended after retrieving the drugs from the marked shipping container.
Two other individuals were also apprehended alongside the accomplices. The outcomes of the operation were greatly lauded by law enforcement agencies.
They praised the high levels of professional precision exhibited by detectives in ensuring that the culprits were brought to book.
AFP’s Mark Colbran, the man in charge of crime operations, gave positive remarks that highlighted the manner in which the relatively short operation managed to garner monumental results.
The fact that the operation was carried out in few weeks was quite commendable.
The partnership between AFP and ABF had borne fruit and caused the arrest of prominent figures in the drug trade. The four arrested persons would thereafter face the law court to answer charges on drug importation.
The AFP acting commander maintained that this event had gone a long way in protecting Australian communities from the influx of dangerous hard drugs.
Additionally, the official commended the prophylactic nature of the operation in deterring future drug importation cases.
The seizure would pose a significant warning to other key players in the drug trade, sending a stern message to people that undermine the capability of Australia’s law enforcement agencies.
In his remarks, the AFP and ABF are working tirelessly to ensure the ultimate demise of the illegal drug trade.
Terry Price, a regional commander for ABF, reiterated on Colbran’s remarks by highlighting the significance of the drug bust in preserving the social integrity of Australian communities.
In his words, the number of drug packages seized by ABF and AFP was enough to substantially expose drug consumers to significant health damage.
Price boasted of the hardware superiority within Australian law enforcement inventories. He cited the exceptional capability of modern X-Ray technology that is used to detect drugs at border crossings.
The Brisbane drug bust dealt a big blow to the illicit drugs industry and augmented efforts directed into the global war on drugs.
All the arrested persons were arraigned in a Brisbane Magistrates Court and officially charged with the possession and transport of a significant quantity of an illegal drug.
According to Australian law, the possession of such border-controlled drugs attracts a maximum penalty of life in prison. The fate of these four men is therefore uncertain as they are expected to appear in court later this month.
This seizure would go down in Australian history as one of the greatest cocaine busts of all time.
An Overview of the Australian Drug Menace
But just how severe is the drug trade in Australia? The country is known to be a hotbed of sporting talent, diversity and technological innovation. While the country boasts of several positive attributes, it is also infamous for drug use.
The Global Drug Survey of 2017 acknowledged Australia as a country with the highest percentage of bong smokers in the world.
Australians also pay the most money for cocaine.
Popular culture has been blamed on the significant increase in the number of drug consumers in the country. The Australian drug problem has persisted for many years, and the worrying statistics have been the norm in the past decade.
A World Drug Report compiled in 2014 by the United Nations placed Australia in the first position globally for the use of ecstasy, the drug of choice for partygoers, and number four in the world for the use of cocaine.
The country became number three in rankings concerning the consumption of methamphetamines. Authorities have also expressed a grave concern for the increase in popularity of prescribed pills and opioids sold among communities.
The figures concerning cocaine use in Australia shows a worrying trend in the demographic context. Nationally, studies express that 9 percent of teenage Australians have used cocaine at some point in their lives.
Precisely, 2.5 percent of Australian teens have consumed cocaine in the past year. It is presumed that most Australian teenagers experiment with cocaine at the age of 19 years old.
These statistics demonstrate the key importance of combating the Australian drug trade.
The country has been struggling with advanced drug smuggling over the years. The increase in law enforcement sophistication seems to have influenced a corresponding expansion of the desire by drug smugglers to transport their loot into Australian soil.
This occurrence is due to the increased demand for the drugs and overall hiking in cocaine prices that has accompanied drug prohibition.
The Australian drug market is said to be supplied by syndicates based in China, Thailand and Indonesia. This market attracts premium pricing on illegal drugs.
The prices of cocaine in Australia is said to be tenfold higher than those of other destinations like China.
Reportedly, Australian policing has encountered great challenges in the war on drugs.
Drug criminals have become very cunning in their ways, and they have innovatively managed to circumvent the long arm of the law for years. The creation of elusive means of smuggling drugs in unimaginable shapes and forms has allowed the continuity of the drug trade.
The vastness of the Australian border also poses a significant challenge in the policing process; drugs seem to miraculously find their way through several entry points and into the illicit drug industry. These points range from the airways to the vast seaways.
In the past, airline passengers have been arrested while trying to smuggle narcotics into Australia. Shipping containers have proved to be a favorite form of transporting drugs into the country.
Additionally, small boats have been seized while attempting to bypass coastal patrol protocols and making their way into the Australian mainland. It is also an undeniable fact that some drugs are usually concealed in imported items like cars.
These incidences highlight just how aggressive drug traders pursue their cause due to the high motivation offered by the Australian drug market.
Various efforts have been directed towards crippling the Australian drug trade. The lucrative market has forced Australia’s government to establish collaborative initiatives to secure the country’s borders and seal off the entry of illegal drugs.
This collaboration is seen by the creation of joint police taskforces with China and Thailand as a bold step towards controlling the source and destination of these drugs.
It is to this effect that Australian law enforcement agencies have realized significant achievements through monumental drug seizures. These operations have gone a long way in protecting the local families from the adverse effects of the drug trade.
Nonetheless, several experts believe that the recent drug busts have managed to touch just a tip of the whole iceberg.
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