A specialist multi-agency team has been formed to target the supply and distribution of methylamphetamine in South Australia and reduce the illegal drug’s significant and often tragic impact on the state’s community.
The Joint Agency Ice Strike Team (JAIST) began operating today, led by SA Police (SAPOL) and comprising members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).
SAPOL acting Deputy Commissioner Scott Duval welcomed the increased focus the new taskforce would bring, highlighting the new locally-based team’s strong ability to target groups producing, importing or trafficking drugs in both metropolitan and regional areas.
“The JAIST will achieve really positive outcomes across South Australia, including in rural and isolated areas where the impacts of methylamphetamine can be magnified,” acting Deputy Commissioner Duval said.
“In recent times, we have made significant progress in reducing the supply of methylamphetamine to our community, from shutting down clandestine drug laboratories to dismantling local drug trafficking rings. However, while there is an insatiable demand for this illicit drug across South Australia, criminal networks will continue to use every means possible to import and manufacture the harmful substance and profit from our community.
“The JAIST will help give SAPOL a competitive edge over these criminal groups, helping to support both our community’s health and general law and order.”
AFP State Manager South Australian Commander Peter Sykora said the JAIST – which sees partner agency staff sworn in as AFP special members – will build on SAPOL’s already significant achievements in this area.
“The JAIST will formalise and bolster our agencies’ collective work to keep the community safe from illicit drugs in South Australia and beyond. With international supply chains, highly-organised drug syndicates, sophisticated clan lab activity and ever-changing concealment methods, this is a problem that our agencies do not have to face alone,” Commander Sykora said.
“The JAIST’s shared expertise and resources will send a strong message to people thinking of producing, importing or trafficking methylamphetamine in South Australia: you are up against multiple agencies, working closely together in Australia and across the globe. Your chances of being caught will only increase.”
ABF Chief Superintendent SA Regional Command, Brett Liebich, said the strike team will further enable the ABF to target methylamphetamine at the border, before it can reach the community.
“This is about using and sharing our intelligence, technology and resources for tangible community benefits,” Chief Superintendent Liebich said.
“In February last year, these agencies worked together to prevent the importation of more than 300kg of methylamphetamine into South Australia, so we know how successful we can be when we work together. I expect us to make a significant impact on the illicit drug market in this state.”
An August 2018 ACIC National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report revealed that Adelaide, along with regional Western Australia, experienced the highest methylamphetamine use across the country.
The same report estimated that the state consumed 1,005.3 kilograms of methylamphetamine annually, the second highest behind Western Australia.
Outcomes of the JAIST will be shared over the coming year.
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ABF Media: (02) 6264 2244