According to the American drug fighter, Richard Bly : " Australia is a significant victim country " in the spread of heroin and other drugs.
Plantation of marijuana near Sydney
Adelaide : report on shipment of cannabis found in truck shipped from Bombay
Sydney : Police carry out bags of hashish discovered in truck also shipped from Bombay. -- burning the drugs ( biggest haul yet in Aust worth $19-million )
Northern Territory : Wreckage of plane used by drug runners flying in millions of dollars worth of heroin and hashish from Asia
Report on Alice Springs Jindalee surveillance system ( shot Sydney-Alice Springs )
reporter: Brian Noonan
reporter: Grant Heading
reporter: Mike Daly
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: According to the American drug fighter, Richard Bly : " Australia is a significant victim country " in the spread of heroin and other drugs.
And in the past 12 months, the " Pacific Connection " has developed into a lush multi-million dollar market for international drug traffickers. "Soft" and "Hard " drugs of all kinds are finding their way in larger amounts into the South Pacific area.
The marijuana traffic in Australia has been ??? in this period by " ??? grown" crops in city and country areas. A Royal Commission on drugs was formed and separate state investigations are being carried out following the death of an anti-drug crusader in the Griffith area of New South Wales. His body has never been found and police are working on the assumption that he was " eliminated" by drug traffickers taking orders from the international narcotics ring.
Police have raided marijuana plantations in Sydney and in country areas, destroying and burning crops worth millions of dollars. One such plantation was grown openly only a few miles from Sydney. The Royal Commission has been told of so-called "Grass Houses" -- mansions allegedly built from the spoils of marijuana cultivation and sales.
And causing as much concern is the inflow of hard drugs from Asia and Europe. Recently, Sydney narcotics agents put on display the biggest haul yet --hashish worth $19-million ( Aust ). Most of the packs had been bundled into blue and yellow plastic garbage bags, after being removed from beneath the false floor of a German-built camper van. Two American women in their sixties were later arrested and pleaded guilty to ??? imported drugs. The van had been driven around Australia for six weeks after being shipped from Bombay.
A similar incident occurred in Adelaide when police found cannabis concealed in a van also shipped to Australia from India and unloaded at Port Adelaide.
Meanwhile, the Leader of the Federal Opposition, Mr Bill Hayden, has accused the government of procrastinating on the question of the drug menace -- that proposals to combat drug running were " belated and little more than a hollow public relations exercise ".
He pointed to inadequate surveillance of Australia's northern coastline. Permanent radar cover along the 10,000 KM northern line has been reduced to about 300 km for the past three years and there's no long-range radar system operating at Darwin since it was knocked out by Cyclone Tracey on Christmas Day 1974.
However, the Government then announced that a self-designed over-the-horizon back-scatter radar program had been launched for the northern surveillance purpose. ???, it's been top secret.
The radar, known as Jindalee OTH-B, will give Australia off-shore surveillance to a distance of nearly 2000 km. It'll be another six years before Jindalee becomes fully operational and by that time $100-million (A) will have been spent on it.
The prototype now operates from Alice Springs and has achieved aircraft detection at ranges of more than 1000 km. Jindalee will ultimately become an early warning system against attack -- and will be used to identify illegal fishing vessels, air and sea drug runners and other intruders within the 200 mile economic zone.
The " spotting " of aircraft approaching the northern coastline has immediate repercussions following the detention of drug runners who flew into the Northern Territory from Asia. They used a light plane which was crash-landed near Darwin. Police later confiscated drugs worth several million dollars.
Other witnesses to the drug commissions have told of successful runs into Australia by private planes and boats after making " connections " in thailand, Taiwan and other parts of Asia.
The Federal government is now moving to increase substantially fines and gaol sentences for trafficking in narcotics -- At present, these allow for a maximum $100,000 fine and/or 25 years gaol for running narcotics other than cannabis.