June 20, 2012
Queensland Police are urging local residents to be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour to help them track down illegal drug labs operating in the region.
Drug labs, referred to by police as “clandestine laboratories”, are being detected in Queensland at an alarming rate. To date this year 181 drug labs have been located across Queensland.
In the North Coast Police Region – which covers the South Burnett – 71 “clan labs” were detected in the 2010-11 financial year.
“Drug labs produce dangerous drugs, including amphetamines, heroin, LSD, GHB and other chemically based drugs,” Head of the State Crime Operations Command’s State Drug and Property Crime Group Detective Superintendent Steve Holahan said.
“The location of illicit laboratories around the State producing various quantities of these dangerous drugs is a concern for obvious reasons.
“Then there is the mixing of the precursor chemicals used to produce these drugs. These chemicals which by their very nature are toxic and corrosive, by people who are not scientifically trained and have little concern for the welfare and safety of others, is enough to cause alarm bells to ring.
“The by-products and hazardous gases emitted from this process also cause damage to the environment and have been the linked to both short and long-term health issues for members of the community.
“When you consider that each week we are finding these highly portable labs in motel and hotel rooms, cars, apartment blocks and houses, you can imagine why we spend a great deal of time working to remove these illicit drug labs from the community and reduce the associated harms.”
Police have launched the Clandestine Laboratory Awareness program (Project CLAWs) aimed at educating key stakeholders on what to do should they come across a drug lab.
“We find real estate agents, property managers, utilities workers and tradespeople invaluable in identifying operating drug labs or the remnants of a drug lab once tenants have left. Their role in this process is just so important,” Det Supt Holahan said.
“The most important message we can provide anyone who suspects a drug lab is present in a premises is not to touch any of the equipment and to leave immediately and contact police. We will do the rest.”
Anyone with information on people involved in the manufacture, distribution or use of dangerous drugs should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800-333-000 or via the Crime Stoppers website.