National drug arrests and seizures in 2012-13.
National drug arrests and seizures in 2012-13. Australian Crime Commission

Stanthorpe drug crime hits new high

THE number of drug-related offences recorded across the Darling Downs police district has skyrocketed over the past three years.

APN Newsdesk research revealed there were about 4785 drug offences in the region last year including eight trafficking, 111 producing and 739 supply offences.

There were also 1773 drug possession and 2154 other drug-related offences recorded during the same period across the region.

The police district includes Stanthorpe, Toowoomba, Warwick, Goondiwindi, Oakey, Gatton and Laidley.

The startling figures have emerged after 20 people appeared in Stanthorpe Magistrates Court last Wednesday on drug-related offences.

Officer-in-charge of Stanthorpe Criminal Investigation Branch, Senior Sergeant Damian Grace said police had noted an increased detection rate of the drug ice (crystal methylamphetamine) in the region and said Stanthorpe isn't the only town suffering.

"It's become an emerging national issue at a state and federal level," he said.

Snr Sgt Grace said operations were making a difference with a number of arrests following recent drug raids as part of Operation North Creme.

"Our investigations into drug supply and production are ongoing and at different times we need to take different actions," he said.

"That was a fantastically run operation and the results have been exceptional."

Snr Sgt Grace said the negative effects often associated with ice haven't yet filtered through to town but warned that could change.

The Australian Crime Commission has released a report highlighting the growing problems ice presents.

Among the major concerns associated with the drug are the violent consequences of addiction.

"We are seeing weekly and daily homicides, drug-impaired driving, addict-based crime in the form of aggression, violence and other crimes such as burglaries in which organised crime groups are profiting," ACC chief executive Chris Dawson said.

Snr Sgt Grace said the negative impacts were not yet evident in the local community.

"There haven't been major problems at a local level at this stage," he said.

"There hasn't been any particular incidents...it's only early days."

Stanthorpe Border Post

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