Special police drug team for Rocky
ROCKHAMPTON is getting a specialised police drug team, but Robert Schwarten says the breakthrough should be mourned not celebrated.
Mr Schwarten, the Member for Rockhampton, said it was sad to see the city no longer insulated from large drug problems usually associated with major cities.
But Mr Schwarten hopes the forming of a drug team would serve as a “wake-up call” for people who still don’t think drugs are an issue here.
“They (drug dealers) are angels of death – they are pushing drugs onto our young people and it’s killing them,” he said.
In 2009, police seized millions of dollar worth of drugs across the Rockhampton region, the most recent being more than 400 ecstasy tablets.
The new drug team will start operations in Rockhampton on February 13.
It will be run from the city’s Criminal Investigation Branch by four designated detectives, but the team may involve up to 20 police depending on the investigation.
Acting Superintendant Graham Coleman yesterday said the Queensland Police Service saw a need to change its focus recently.
The drug team will replace the specialised property crime team, which had run successfully for about 12 months.
Property crime will now form part of CIB duties.
Acting Superintendant Coleman said the small drug team would focus on the sale and supply of drugs.
“That’s our focus everyday now but it will be more formalised with a clearer focus,” he said.
Acting Superintendant Coleman said it would be ideal to have specialised squads for a number of issues but it wasn’t possible so Rockhampton police were focusing on major issues.
Mr Schwarten yesterday said he had no doubt the city needed a designated drug team.
“From what police have told me there are some very serious drug dealers in our neighbourhood,” he said.
“That’s why it’s being treated seriously. It’s sad that we have got to the stage that it requires police action but I support it and give full marks to police.”
Mr Schwarten said the new team reinforced the need to be more vigilant and to work with police.
He said people needed to abandon the attitude of not dobbing in drug activity.
“We have to be the eyes and ears for the police.”
If you notice any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood call Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000.
Recent drug crimes ...
- January 17: Police seized more than 400 ecstasy tablets from a property at Nankin, near Rockhampton. A man, 45, was charged.
- December 30: Thieves target a school laboratory and steal glassware and chemicals. Police fear the number of recent drug busts is pushing drug suppliers to new levels.
- October 13: Police seized 140 cannabis plants, with an estimated value of $350,000, from a property north of Rockhampton.
- September 16: Police seized drugs with a street value of about $400,000 after a raid on a property north of Yeppoon.
- August 20: More than 70 police were involved in dawn raids of 26 homes across Rockhampton which resulted in seizing large amounts of drugs, property and weapons. Police charged 17 people with 53 drug related offences.
- August 19: Almost 100 cannabis plants were found after a raid on two neighbouring properties at Canoona, north of Rockhampton.
- July 28: Three brothers, armed with 18 weapons, allegedly grew a major cannabis crop worth $600,000 at Mount Morgan. Police raided two properties and found 206 cannabis plants (pictured inset).
- June 16: $20,000 worth of cannabis was seized during a series of raids across the Rockhampton district. 16 homes were raided during Police operation Cork.
- May 12: Police seized $1 million worth of drug crop from a Jardine property, near Yaamba, north of Rockhampton. The drugs included 169 cannabis plants which were drying in a large shed, 500 plants up to 2.4m high and five 44-gallon drums of cannabis head which had been harvested from two small crops on the property.