Meth use remains a serious problem in WA’s Mid West

Midwest Times
Mid West Gascoyne Superintendent Roger Beer.
Camera IconMid West Gascoyne Superintendent Roger Beer. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

Mid West Gascoyne District police have executed about 60 drug search warrants since January, as new government agency reports reveal Australian law enforcement is grappling with the production of industrial-scale methamphetamine.

According to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, regional towns have largely borne the brunt of damaging meth networks, as criminals reportedly move outside of metropolitan areas to set up greater distribution.

It is estimated 1528.3kg of meth is consumed annually in WA, while in the Mid West and Gascoyne roughly 1000 drug offences have been pursued in court this financial year.

District Superintendent Roger Beer said he was unable to comment in depth on current police activity, but acknowledged authorities were actively targeting transport of drugs, largely via vehicle stops of suspected couriers.

Big disruptions this year include a $50,000 dent in late March as a result of Statewide drug initiative Operation Actum, which across WA saw the confiscation of $14 million worth of drugs.

Other notable drug busts include a $1 million meth seizure on Brand Highway last October and a $1 billion haul at Batavia Marina at the end of 2017.

While the commission reports that criminal entities are attempting to entangle the bush in drug distribution, Supt Beer said in his experience, people were mostly not coerced into the criminal activity. Rather, he said many become dealers because they were greedy, wanted to support a drug habit or were just “too lazy to work like the rest of us”.

“This is probably not a popular view amongst some academics, but I think there’s always a choice involved before any dependency emanates,” he said.

Recent feedback to the State from regional communities including Geraldton revealed shared meth- related issues, such as long wait lists for services, lack of rehabilitative options for child addicts and inexperienced health staff.

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